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1.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 41(11): 1258-1265, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2096345

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of severe respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-laden aerosols in the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains uncertain. Discordant findings of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in air samples were noted in early reports. METHODS: Sampling of air close to 6 asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients with and without surgical masks was performed with sampling devices using sterile gelatin filters. Frequently touched environmental surfaces near 21 patients were swabbed before daily environmental disinfection. The correlation between the viral loads of patients' clinical samples and environmental samples was analyzed. RESULTS: All air samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the 6 patients singly isolated inside airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) with 12 air changes per hour. Of 377 environmental samples near 21 patients, 19 (5.0%) were positive by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, with a median viral load of 9.2 × 102 copies/mL (range, 1.1 × 102 to 9.4 × 104 copies/mL). The contamination rate was highest on patients' mobile phones (6 of 77, 7.8%), followed by bed rails (4 of 74, 5.4%) and toilet door handles (4 of 76, 5.3%). We detected a significant correlation between viral load ranges in clinical samples and positivity rate of environmental samples (P < .001). CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detectable by air samplers, which suggests that the airborne route is not the predominant mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Wearing a surgical mask, appropriate hand hygiene, and thorough environmental disinfection are sufficient infection control measures for COVID-19 patients isolated singly in AIIRs. However, this conclusion may not apply during aerosol-generating procedures or in cohort wards with large numbers of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Air Microbiology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Fomites/virology , Infection Control/methods , Patients' Rooms , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Adolescent , Adult , Aerosols , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load
2.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-4, 2022 Oct 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2087056

ABSTRACT

We obtained 24 air samples in 8 general wards temporarily converted into negative-pressure wards admitting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) omicron variant BA.2.2 in Hong Kong. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 19 (79.2%) of 24 samples despite enhanced indoor air dilution. It is difficult to prevent airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals.

3.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-6, 2022 Jul 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1977949

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Air dispersal of respiratory viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 has not been systematically reported. The incidence and factors associated with air dispersal of respiratory viruses are largely unknown. METHODS: We performed air sampling by collecting 72,000 L of air over 6 hours for pediatric and adolescent patients infected with parainfluenza virus 3 (PIF3), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinovirus, and adenovirus. The patients were singly or 2-patient cohort isolated in airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) from December 3, 2021, to January 26, 2022. The viral load in nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPA) and air samples were measured. Factors associated with air dispersal were investigated and analyzed. RESULTS: Of 20 singly isolated patients with median age of 30 months (range, 3 months-15 years), 7 (35%) had air dispersal of the viruses compatible with their NPA results. These included 4 (40%) of 10 PIF3-infected patients, 2 (66%) of 3 RSV-infected patients, and 1 (50%) of 2 adenovirus-infected patients. The mean viral load in their room air sample was 1.58×103 copies/mL. Compared with 13 patients (65%) without air dispersal, these 7 patients had a significantly higher mean viral load in their NPA specimens (6.15×107 copies/mL vs 1.61×105 copies/mL; P < .001). Another 14 patients were placed in cohorts as 7 pairs infected with the same virus (PIF3, 2 pairs; RSV, 3 pairs; rhinovirus, 1 pair; and adenovirus, 1 pair) in double-bed AIIRs, all of which had air dispersal. The mean room air viral load in 2-patient cohorts was significantly higher than in rooms of singly isolated patients (1.02×104 copies/mL vs 1.58×103 copies/mL; P = .020). CONCLUSION: Air dispersal of common respiratory viruses may have infection prevention and public health implications.

4.
Build Environ ; 221: 109323, 2022 Aug 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1906829

ABSTRACT

The phenomenon of vertical transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in high-rise residential buildings (HRRBs) is unique in our densely populated cosmopolitan city. The compulsory testing of a whole building under the scheme of restriction-testing declaration (RTD) during the fourth wave (non-Omicron variant) and fifth wave (mostly Omicron variant) of COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong allowed us to study the prevalence of this phenomenon, which may represent a form of airborne transmission. From 23 January 2021 to 24 March 2022, 25,450 (5.8%) of 436,397 residents from 223 (63.0%) of 354 HRRBs under RTD were test-positive for SARS-CoV-2. Using the clustering of cases among vertically aligned flats with shared drainage stack and lightwell as a surrogate marker of vertical transmission, the number of vertically aligned flats with positive COVID-19 cases was significantly higher in the fifth wave compared with the fourth wave (14.2%, 6471/45,531 vs 0.24%, 3/1272; p < 0.001; or 2212 vs 1 per-million-flats; p < 0.001). Excluding 22,801 residents from 38 HRRBs who were tested negative outside the 12-week periods selected in fourth and fifth waves, the positive rate among residents was significantly higher among residents during the fifth wave than the fourth wave (6.5%, 25,434/389,700 vs 0.07%, 16/23,896; p < 0.001). Within the flats with COVID-19 cases, the proportion of vertically aligned flats was also significantly higher in the fifth wave than in the fourth wave (95.6%, 6471/6766 vs 30.0%, 3/10, p < 0.001). The proportion of HRRBs with COVID-19 cases was significantly higher during the corresponding 12-week period chosen for comparison (78.2%, 219/280 vs 11.1%, 4/36; p < 0.001). Whole-genome phylogenetic analysis of 332 viral genomes showed that Omicron BA.2 was the predominant strain, supporting the high transmissibility of BA.2 by airborne excreta-aerosol route in HRRBs of Hong Kong.

5.
Antibiotics (Basel) ; 11(6)2022 May 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869451

ABSTRACT

Nonpharmaceutical interventions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2021) have provided a unique opportunity to understand their impact on the wholesale supply of antibiotics and incidences of infections represented by bacteremia due to common bacterial species in Hong Kong. The wholesale antibiotic supply data (surrogate indicator of antibiotic consumption) and notifications of scarlet fever, chickenpox, and tuberculosis collected by the Centre for Health Protection, and the data of blood cultures of patients admitted to public hospitals in Hong Kong collected by the Hospital Authority for the last 10 years, were tabulated and analyzed. A reduction in the wholesale supply of antibiotics was observed. This decrease coincided with a significant reduction in the incidence of community-onset bacteremia due to Streptococcus pyogenes, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, and Neisseria meningitidis, which are encapsulated bacteria with respiratory transmission potential. This reduction was sustained during two pandemic years (period 2: 2020-2021), compared with eight pre-pandemic years (period 1: 2012-2019). Although the mean number of patient admissions per year (1,704,079 vs. 1,702,484, p = 0.985) and blood culture requests per 1000 patient admissions (149.0 vs. 158.3, p = 0.132) were not significantly different between periods 1 and 2, a significant reduction in community-onset bacteremia due to encapsulated bacteria was observed in terms of the mean number of episodes per year (257 vs. 58, p < 0.001), episodes per 100,000 admissions (15.1 vs. 3.4, p < 0.001), and per 10,000 blood culture requests (10.1 vs. 2.1, p < 0.001), out of 17,037,598 episodes of patient admissions with 2,570,164 blood culture requests. Consistent with the findings of bacteremia, a reduction in case notification of scarlet fever and airborne infections, including tuberculosis and chickenpox, was also observed; however, there was no reduction in the incidence of hospital-onset bacteremia due to Staphylococcus aureus or Escherichia coli. Sustained implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions against respiratory microbes may reduce the overall consumption of antibiotics, which may have a consequential impact on antimicrobial resistance. Rebound of conventional respiratory microbial infections is likely with the relaxation of these interventions.

6.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 42(2): 218-221, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-720801

ABSTRACT

Universal masking for healthcare workers and patients in hospitals was adopted to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with compliance rates of 100% and 75.9%, respectively. Zero rates of nosocomial influenza A, influenza B, and respiratory syncytial virus infection were achieved from February to April 2020, which was significantly lower than the corresponding months in 2017-2019.


Subject(s)
Cross Infection/prevention & control , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Masks , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/prevention & control , Virus Shedding , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Hong Kong , Hospitals , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/transmission , Patients , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/transmission
7.
J Infect ; 81(1): 107-114, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-108681

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Face mask usage by the healthy population in the community to reduce risk of transmission of respiratory viruses remains controversial. We assessed the effect of community-wide mask usage to control coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). METHODS: Patients presenting with respiratory symptoms at outpatient clinics or hospital wards were screened for COVID-19 per protocol. Epidemiological analysis was performed for confirmed cases, especially persons acquiring COVID-19 during mask-off and mask-on settings. The incidence of COVID-19 per million population in HKSAR with community-wide masking was compared to that of non-mask-wearing countries which are comparable with HKSAR in terms of population density, healthcare system, BCG vaccination and social distancing measures but not community-wide masking. Compliance of face mask usage in the HKSAR community was monitored. FINDINGS: Within first 100 days (31 December 2019 to 8 April 2020), 961 COVID-19 patients were diagnosed in HKSAR. The COVID-19 incidence in HKSAR (129.0 per million population) was significantly lower (p<0.001) than that of Spain (2983.2), Italy (2250.8), Germany (1241.5), France (1151.6), U.S. (1102.8), U.K. (831.5), Singapore (259.8), and South Korea (200.5). The compliance of face mask usage by HKSAR general public was 96.6% (range: 95.7% to 97.2%). We observed 11 COVID-19 clusters in recreational 'mask-off' settings compared to only 3 in workplace 'mask-on' settings (p = 0.036 by Chi square test of goodness-of-fit). CONCLUSION: Community-wide mask wearing may contribute to the control of COVID-19 by reducing the amount of emission of infected saliva and respiratory droplets from individuals with subclinical or mild COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Protective Clothing , Public Health , COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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