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Bull World Health Organ ; 99(3): 178-189, 2021 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256313


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.

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
J Infect ; 83(2): 237-279, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225296


The COVID-19 vaccination programme commenced in England on 8th December 2020 primarily based on age; by 7th March 2021 approximately 93% of the English population aged 70+ years had received at least 1 dose of either the Pfizer BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines. Using a nucleoprotein assay that detects antibodies following natural infection only and a spike assay that detects infection and vaccine-induced responses, we aim to describe the impact of vaccination on SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in English blood donors.

COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Aged , Antibody Formation , Blood Donors , England/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Humans , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Vaccination
Euro Surveill ; 26(11)2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1181332


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.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Epidemiological Monitoring , Physical Distancing , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , United Kingdom/epidemiology