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Clin Infect Dis ; 73(6): e1356-e1364, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1412019


BACKGROUND: Nosocomial outbreaks with superspreading of coronavirus disease 2019 due to a possible airborne transmission have not been reported. METHODS: Epidemiological analysis, environmental samplings, and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) were performed for a hospital outbreak. RESULTS: A superspreading event that involved 12 patients and 9 healthcare workers (HCWs) occurred within 9 days in 3 of 6 cubicles at an old-fashioned general ward with no air exhaust built within the cubicles. The environmental contamination by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA was significantly higher in air grilles (>2 m from patients' heads and not within reach) than on high-touch clinical surfaces (36.4%, 8 of 22 vs 3.4%, 1 of 29, P = .003). Six (66.7%) of 9 contaminated air exhaust grilles were located outside patient cubicles. The clinical attack rate of patients was significantly higher than of HCWs (15.4%, 12 of 78 exposed patients vs 4.6%, 9 of 195 exposed HCWs, P = .005). Moreover, the clinical attack rate of ward-based HCWs was significantly higher than of nonward-based HCWs (8.1%, 7 of 68 vs 1.8%, 2 of 109, P = .045). The episodes (mean ±â€…standard deviation) of patient-care duty assignment in the cubicles was significantly higher among infected ward-based HCWs than among noninfected ward-based HCWs (6.0 ±â€…2.4 vs 3.0 ±â€…2.9, P = .012) during the outbreak period. The outbreak strains belong to SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.36.27 (GISAID clade GH) with the unique S-T470N mutation on WGS. CONCLUSIONS: This nosocomial point source superspreading event due to possible airborne transmission demonstrates the need for stringent SARS-CoV-2 screening at admission to healthcare facilities and better architectural design of ventilation systems to prevent such outbreaks. Portable high-efficiency particulate filters were installed in each cubicle to improve ventilation before resumption of clinical service.

COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(1): 196-204, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-993249


Initial cases of coronavirus disease in Hong Kong were imported from mainland China. A dramatic increase in case numbers was seen in February 2020. Most case-patients had no recent travel history, suggesting the presence of transmission chains in the local community. We collected demographic, clinical, and epidemiologic data from 50 patients, who accounted for 53.8% of total reported case-patients as of February 28, 2020. We performed whole-genome sequencing to determine phylogenetic relationship and transmission dynamics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections. By using phylogenetic analysis, we attributed the community outbreak to 2 lineages; 1 harbored a common mutation, Orf3a-G251V, and accounted for 88.0% of the cases in our study. The estimated time to the most recent common ancestor of local coronavirus disease outbreak was December 24, 2019, with an evolutionary rate of 3.04 × 10-3 substitutions/site/year. The reproduction number was 1.84, indicating ongoing community spread.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/transmission , Cluster Analysis , Disease Hotspot , Evolution, Molecular , Female , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Phylogeny , Phylogeography , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult