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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(15)2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1335087


SARS-CoV-2 transmission from contaminated surfaces, or fomites, has been a concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Households have been important sites of transmission throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is limited information on SARS-CoV-2 contamination of surfaces in these settings. We describe environmental detection of SARS-CoV-2 in households of persons with COVID-19 to better characterize the potential risks of fomite transmission. Ten households with ≥1 person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and with ≥2 members total were enrolled in Utah, U.S.A. Nasopharyngeal and anterior nasal swabs were collected from members and tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR. Fifteen surfaces were sampled in each household and tested for presence and viability of SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 23 (15%) of 150 environmental swab samples, most frequently on nightstands (4/6; 67%), pillows (4/23; 17%), and light switches (3/21; 14%). Viable SARS-CoV-2 was cultured from one sample. All households with SARS-CoV-2-positive surfaces had ≥1 person who first tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 ≤ 6 days prior to environmental sampling. SARS-CoV-2 surface contamination occurred early in the course of infection when respiratory transmission is most likely, notably on surfaces in close, prolonged contact with persons with COVID-19. While fomite transmission might be possible, risk is low.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Fomites , Humans , Pandemics , RNA, Viral