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PLoS One ; 17(2): e0263741, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35171936


BACKGROUND: Despite their clear lesser vulnerability to COVID-19, the extent by which children are susceptible to getting infected by SARS-CoV-2 and their capacity to transmit the infection to other people remains inadequately characterized. We aimed to evaluate the role of school reopening and the preventive strategies in place at schools in terms of overall risk for children and community transmission, by comparing transmission rates in children as detected by a COVID-19 surveillance platform in place in Catalonian Schools to the incidence at the community level. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Infections detected in Catalan schools during the entire first trimester of classes (September-December 2020) were analysed and compared with the ongoing community transmission and with the modelled predicted number of infections. There were 30.486 infections (2.12%) documented among the circa 1.5M pupils, with cases detected in 54.0% and 97.5% of the primary and secondary centres, respectively. During the entire first term, the proportion of "bubble groups" (stable groups of children doing activities together) that were forced to undergo confinement ranged between 1 and 5%, with scarce evidence of substantial intraschool transmission in the form of chains of infections, and with ~75% of all detected infections not leading to secondary cases. Mathematical models were also used to evaluate the effect of different parameters related to the defined preventive strategies (size of the bubble group, number of days of confinement required by contacts of an index case). The effective reproduction number inside the bubble groups in schools (R*), defined as the average number of schoolmates infected by each primary case within the bubble, was calculated, yielding a value of 0.35 for primary schools and 0.55 for secondary schools, and compared with the outcomes of the mathematical model, implying decreased transmissibility for children in the context of the applied measures. Relative homogenized monthly cumulative incidence ([Formula: see text]) was assessed to compare the epidemiological dynamics among different age groups and this analysis suggested the limited impact of infections in school-aged children in the context of the overall community incidence. CONCLUSIONS: During the fall of 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 cases detected in Catalan schools closely mirrored the underlying community transmission from the neighbourhoods where they were set and maintaining schools open appeared to be safe irrespective of underlying community transmission. Preventive measures in place in those schools appeared to be working for the early detection and rapid containment of transmission and should be maintained for the adequate and safe functioning of normal academic and face-to-face school activities.

COVID-19 , Residence Characteristics , Schools , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Incidence , Models, Theoretical , Spain/epidemiology
Clin Infect Dis ; 72(12): e970-e977, 2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33180914


BACKGROUND: Susceptibility of children and adults to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and persistence of antibody response to the virus after infection resolution remain poorly understood, despite their significant public health implications. METHODS: A prospective cross-sectional seroprevalence study with volunteer families that included at least 1 first-reported adult case positive by SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and at least 1 child aged <15 years living in the same household under strict home confinement was conducted in the metropolitan Barcelona Health Region, Spain, during the pandemic period 28 April 2020-3 June 2020. All household members were tested at home using a rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody assay with finger prick-obtained capillary blood. RESULTS: A total of 381 family households including 381 first-reported PCR-positive adult cases and 1084 contacts (672 children, 412 adults) were enrolled. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence rates were 17.6% (118 of 672) in children and 18.7% (77 of 335) in adult contacts (P = .64). Among first-reported cases, seropositivity rates varied from 84.0% in adults previously hospitalized and tested within 6 weeks since the first positive PCR result to 31.5% in those not hospitalized and tested after that lag time (P < .001). Nearly all (99.9%) positive children were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Children appear to have similar probability as adults to become infected by SARS-CoV-2 in quarantined family households but remain largely asymptomatic. Adult antibody protection against SARS-CoV-2 seems to be weak beyond 6 weeks post-infection confirmation, especially in cases that have experienced mild disease.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Prospective Studies , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spain/epidemiology