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Hui Zhang, Shuxuan Song, Zhijun Chen, Miao Bai, Zhen He, Ting Fu, Kun Liu, Zhongjun Shao
(Department of Prevention of Infectious Diseases, Xi’an Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China (mainland))
Med Sci Monit 2021; 27:e929701
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a cluster outbreak caused by an imported case from Hubei Province was reported in Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province, China. Ten patients from 2 families and 1 hospital were involved in the transmission.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: We conducted an epidemiological investigation to identify the cluster transmission of COVID-19. The demographic, epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and cluster characteristics were described and analyzed.
RESULTS: From January 27 to February 13, 2020, a total of 10 individuals were confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 by the nucleic acid testing of nasopharyngeal swabs from 2 families and 1 hospital. Among the confirmed cases, 7 had atypical clinical symptoms and 3 were asymptomatic. The median times from onset to diagnosis and to discharge were 3.5 days (range, 1-5 days) and 19.5 days (range, 16-38 days), respectively. There were 4 patients whose exposure dates were 1, 3, 3, and 2 days earlier than the onset dates of their previous-generation cases, respectively. Four prevention and control measures were effectively used to interrupt the disease transmission.
CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 can be easily transmitted within families and in hospitals, and asymptomatic patients could act as a source of disease transmission. The results of this outbreak at the early epidemic stage support the recommendation that individuals with confirmed COVID-19 and all their close contacts should be subjected to medical quarantined observation and nucleic acid screening as early as possible, even if they do not have any symptoms. Meanwhile, people in high-risk areas should improve their protective measures.
Keywords: asymptomatic infections, Coronavirus Infections, Disease Outbreaks