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1.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 1845, 2022 10 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2053889

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In England, the emergence the more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variant Alpha (B.1.1.7) led to a third national lockdown from December 2020, including restricted attendance at schools. Nurseries, however, remained fully open. COVID-19 outbreaks (≥ 2 laboratory-confirmed cases within 14 days) in nurseries were investigated to assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and cumulative incidence in staff and children over a three-month period when community SARS-CoV-2 infections rates were high and the Alpha variant was spreading rapidly across England. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional national investigation of COVID-19 outbreaks in nurseries across England. Nurseries reporting a COVID-19 outbreak to PHE between November 2020 and January 2021 were requested to complete a questionnaire about their outbreak. RESULTS: Three hundred and twenty-four nurseries, comprising 1% (324/32,852) of nurseries in England, reported a COVID-19 outbreak. Of the 315 (97%) nurseries contacted, 173 (55%) reported 1,657 SARS-CoV-2 cases, including 510 (31%) children and 1,147 (69%) staff. A child was the index case in 45 outbreaks (26%) and staff in 125 (72%) outbreaks. Overall, children had an incidence rate of 3.50% (95%CI, 3.21-3.81%) and was similar irrespective of whether the index case was a child (3.55%; 95%CI, 3.01-4.19%) or staff (3.44%; 95%CI, 3.10-3.82%). Among staff, cumulative incidence was lower if the index case was a child (26.28%; 95%CI, 23.54-29.21%%) compared to a staff member (32.98%; 95%CI, 31.19-34.82%), with the highest cumulative incidence when the index case was also a staff member (37.52%; 95%CI, 35.39-39.70%). Compared to November 2020, outbreak sizes and cumulative incidence was higher in January 2021, when the Alpha variant predominated. Nationally, SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in < 5 year-olds remained low and followed trends in older age-groups, increasing during December 2020 and declining thereafter. CONCLUSIONS: In this cross-sectional study of COVID-19 outbreaks in nurseries, one in three staff were affected compared to one in thirty children. There was some evidence of increased transmissibility and higher cumulative incidence associated with the Alpha variant, highlighting the importance of maintaining a low level of community infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nurseries, Infant , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Infant , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Euro Surveill ; 27(31)2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1987415

ABSTRACT

Following the report of an excess in paediatric cases of severe acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology by the United Kingdom (UK) on 5 April 2022, 427 cases were reported from 20 countries in the World Health Organization European Region to the European Surveillance System TESSy from 1 January 2022 to 16 June 2022. Here, we analysed demographic, epidemiological, clinical and microbiological data available in TESSy. Of the reported cases, 77.3% were 5 years or younger and 53.5% had a positive test for adenovirus, 10.4% had a positive RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 and 10.3% were coinfected with both pathogens. Cases with adenovirus infections were significantly more likely to be admitted to intensive care or high-dependency units (OR = 2.11; 95% CI: 1.18-3.74) and transplanted (OR = 3.36; 95% CI: 1.19-9.55) than cases with a negative test result for adenovirus, but this was no longer observed when looking at this association separately between the UK and other countries. Aetiological studies are needed to ascertain if adenovirus plays a role in this possible emergence of hepatitis cases in children and, if confirmed, the mechanisms that could be involved.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hepatitis A , Child , Europe/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
3.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-338464

ABSTRACT

Background: In England, the emergence the more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variant Alpha (B.1.1.7) led to a third national lockdown from December 2020, including restricted attendance at schools. Nurseries, however, remained fully open. COVID-19 outbreaks (≥ 2 laboratory-confirmed cases within 14 days) in nurseries and assess the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and incidence rates in staff and children over a three-month period when community SARS-CoV-2 infections rates were high and the Alpha variant was spreading rapidly across England. Methods This was a cross-sectional national investigation of COVID-19 outbreaks in nurseries across England Nurseries reporting a COVID-19 outbreak to PHE between November 2020 and January 2021 were requested to complete a questionnaire about their outbreak. Results 324 nurseries, comprising 1% (324/32,852) of nurseries in England, reported a COVID-19 outbreak. Of the 315 (97%) nurseries contacted, 173 (55%) reported 1,657 SARS-CoV-2 cases, including 510 (31%) children and 1,147 (69%) staff. A child was the index case in 45 outbreaks (26%) and staff in 125 (72%) outbreaks. Overall, children had an incidence rate of 3.50% (95%CI, 3.21–3.81%) and was similar irrespective of whether the index case was a child (3.55%;95%CI, 3.01–4.19%) or staff (3.44%;95%CI, 3.10–3.82%). Among staff, incidence rates were lower if the index case was a child (26.28%;95%CI, 23.54–29.21%%) compared to a staff member (32.98%;95%CI, 31.19–34.82%), with the highest incidence rate when the index case was also a staff member (37.52%;95%CI, 35.39–39.70%). Compared to November 2020, outbreak sizes and incidence rates were higher in January 2021, when the Alpha variant predominated. Nationally, SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in < 5 year-olds remained low and followed trends in older age-groups, increasing during December 2020 and declining thereafter. Conclusions In this cross-sectional study of COVID-19 outbreaks in nurseries, one in three staff were affected compared to one in thirty children. There was some evidence of increased transmissibility and higher incidence rates associated with the Alpha variant

4.
Euro Surveill ; 27(15)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869325

ABSTRACT

BackgroundHouseholds appear to be the highest risk setting for COVID-19 transmission. Large household transmission studies in the early stages of the pandemic in Asia reported secondary attack rates ranging from 5 to 30%.AimWe aimed to investigate the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in household and community settings in the UK.MethodsA prospective case-ascertained study design based on the World Health Organization FFX protocol was undertaken in the UK following the detection of the first case in late January 2020. Household contacts of cases were followed using enhanced surveillance forms to establish whether they developed symptoms of COVID-19, became confirmed cases and their outcomes. We estimated household secondary attack rates (SAR), serial intervals and individual and household basic reproduction numbers. The incubation period was estimated using known point source exposures that resulted in secondary cases.ResultsWe included 233 households with two or more people with 472 contacts. The overall household SAR was 37% (95% CI: 31-43%) with a mean serial interval of 4.67 days, an R0 of 1.85 and a household reproduction number of 2.33. SAR were lower in larger households and highest when the primary case was younger than 18 years. We estimated a mean incubation period of around 4.5 days.ConclusionsRates of COVID-19 household transmission were high in the UK for ages above and under 18 years, emphasising the need for preventative measures in this setting. This study highlights the importance of the FFX protocol in providing early insights on transmission dynamics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Family Characteristics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
5.
Bull World Health Organ ; 99(3): 178-189, 2021 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256313

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To describe the clinical presentation, course of disease and health-care seeking behaviour of the first few hundred cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. METHODS: We implemented the World Health Organization's First Few X cases and contacts investigation protocol for COVID-19. Trained public health professionals collected information on 381 virologically confirmed COVID-19 cases from 31 January 2020 to 9 April 2020. We actively followed up cases to identify exposure to infection, symptoms and outcomes. We also collected limited data on 752 symptomatic people testing negative for COVID-19, as a control group for analyses of the sensitivity, specificity and predictive value of symptoms. FINDINGS: Approximately half of the COVID-19 cases were imported (196 cases; 51.4%), of whom the majority had recent travel to Italy (140 cases; 71.4%). Of the 94 (24.7%) secondary cases, almost all reported close contact with a confirmed case (93 cases; 98.9%), many through household contact (37 cases; 39.8%). By age, a lower proportion of children had COVID-19. Most cases presented with cough, fever and fatigue. The sensitivity and specificity of symptoms varied by age, with nonlinear relationships with age. Although the proportion of COVID-19 cases with fever increased with age, for those with other respiratory infections the occurrence of fever decreased with age. The occurrence of shortness of breath also increased with age in a greater proportion of COVID-19 cases. CONCLUSION: The study has provided useful evidence for generating case definitions and has informed modelling studies of the likely burden of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Adolescent , Adult , Age Distribution , Aged , Child , Child, Preschool , Dyspnea/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Young Adult
6.
Euro Surveill ; 26(11)2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1181332

ABSTRACT

BackgroundA multi-tiered surveillance system based on influenza surveillance was adopted in the United Kingdom in the early stages of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) epidemic to monitor different stages of the disease. Mandatory social and physical distancing measures (SPDM) were introduced on 23 March 2020 to attempt to limit transmission.AimTo describe the impact of SPDM on COVID-19 activity as detected through the different surveillance systems.MethodsData from national population surveys, web-based indicators, syndromic surveillance, sentinel swabbing, respiratory outbreaks, secondary care admissions and mortality indicators from the start of the epidemic to week 18 2020 were used to identify the timing of peaks in surveillance indicators relative to the introduction of SPDM. This timing was compared with median time from symptom onset to different stages of illness and levels of care or interactions with healthcare services.ResultsThe impact of SPDM was detected within 1 week through population surveys, web search indicators and sentinel swabbing reported by onset date. There were detectable impacts on syndromic surveillance indicators for difficulty breathing, influenza-like illness and COVID-19 coding at 2, 7 and 12 days respectively, hospitalisations and critical care admissions (both 12 days), laboratory positivity (14 days), deaths (17 days) and nursing home outbreaks (4 weeks).ConclusionThe impact of SPDM on COVID-19 activity was detectable within 1 week through community surveillance indicators, highlighting their importance in early detection of changes in activity. Community swabbing surveillance may be increasingly important as a specific indicator, should circulation of seasonal respiratory viruses increase.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Epidemiological Monitoring , Physical Distancing , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , United Kingdom/epidemiology
7.
J Infect ; 82(4): 67-74, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101374

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concern for the safety of staff and students, their families and the wider community. We monitored SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in school-aged children and compared them with adult infection rates before and after schools reopened in England. METHODS: Public Health England receives daily electronic reports of all SARS-CoV-2 tests nationally. SARS-CoV-2 infection rates by school year from July to December 2020 were analysed, including the effect of a national month-long lockdown whilst keeping schools open in November 2020 RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 infections rates were low during early summer but started increasing in mid-August, initially in young adults followed by secondary and then primary school-aged children prior to schools reopening in September 2020. Cases in school-aged children lagged behind and followed adult trends after schools reopened, with a strong age gradient in weekly infection rates. There was a strong (P<0.001) correlation in regional infection rates between adults and secondary (R2=0.96-0.98), primary (R2=0.93-0.94) and preschool-aged (R2=0.62-0.85) children. The November lockdown was associated with declines in adult infection rates, followed a week later, by declines in student cases. From 23 November 2020, cases in adults and children increased rapidly following the emergence of a more transmissible novel variant of concern (VOC-202,012/01; B.1.1.7). CONCLUSIONS: In school-aged children, SARS-CoV-2 infections followed the same trajectory as adult cases and only declined after national lockdown was implemented whilst keeping schools open. Maintaining low community infection rates is critical for keeping schools open during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Child , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Schools
10.
Euro Surveill ; 25(28)2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-647503

ABSTRACT

England has experienced one of the highest excess in all-cause mortality in Europe during the current COVID-19 pandemic. As COVID-19 emerged, the excess in all-cause mortality rapidly increased, starting in March 2020. The excess observed during the pandemic was higher than excesses noted in the past 5 years. It concerned all regions and all age groups, except the 0-14 year olds, but was more pronounced in the London region and in those aged ≥ 85 years.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Adolescent , Adult , Age Distribution , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Algorithms , COVID-19 , Cause of Death , England/epidemiology , Humans , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Poisson Distribution , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
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