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1.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 462022 Apr 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1812121

ABSTRACT

Since Queensland eased border restrictions to the rest of Australia on 13 December 2021, notified cases of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) dramatically increased, with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant now the most widespread variant of concern: 145,881 cases and 13 deaths were recorded in Queensland in the month following the opening of the border. For an effective public health response to a highly transmissible disease, it is important to know the prevalence in the community, but the exponential increase in cases meant that many with symptoms had difficulty getting tested. We implemented a surveillance program on the Gold Coast that used a modified randomised household cluster survey method to estimate the point prevalence of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The estimated point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 detected by PCR on self-collected swabs was 17.2% on the first visit to households (22 January 2022). This subsequently decreased to 5.2% (5 February 2022) and finally to 1.1% (19 February 2022). Out of 1,379 specimens tested over five weeks, 63 had detected SARS-CoV-2 and 35 (55.6%) were sequenced. All were SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529 (i.e. Omicron). This surveillance program could be scaled up or reproduced in other jurisdictions to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.Since Queensland eased border restrictions to the rest of Australia on 13 December 2021, notified cases of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) dramatically increased, with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant now the most widespread variant of concern: 145,881 cases and 13 deaths were recorded in Queensland in the month following the opening of the border. For an effective public health response to a highly transmissible disease, it is important to know the prevalence in the community, but the exponential increase in cases meant that many with symptoms had difficulty getting tested. We implemented a surveillance program on the Gold Coast that used a modified randomised household cluster survey method to estimate the point prevalence of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The estimated point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 detected by PCR on self-collected swabs was 17.2% on the first visit to households (22 January 2022). This subsequently decreased to 5.2% (5 February 2022) and finally to 1.1% (19 February 2022). Out of 1,379 specimens tested over five weeks, 63 had detected SARS-CoV-2 and 35 (55.6%) were sequenced. All were SARS-CoV-2 variant: B.1.1.529 (i.e. Omicron). This surveillance program could be scaled up or reproduced in other jurisdictions to estimate the prevalence of COVID-19 in the community.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Prevalence
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312082

ABSTRACT

Background: COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities often have devastating consequences;however, the epidemiology of such outbreaks is not well defined. We aimed to define the epidemiology of COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities by systematically reviewing the literature published during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We searched 11 key bibliographic databases to locate literature published on COVID-19 in aged care facilities between December 2019 and September 2020. All original studies reporting extractable epidemiological data on COVID-19 outbreaks as part of outbreak investigations or non-outbreak surveillance of aged care residents were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis. Findings: We identified 50 studies from 14 countries across four continents reporting data on 214,462 residents in 8,503 care homes with 25,590 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Aged care residents from a distinct vulnerable population with single-facility attack rates of 44% [95% CI 31–57%] and case fatality rates of 23% [95% CI 18–28%]. Of the cases, 32% [95% CI 28–35%] were asymptomatic. The rate of hospitalization among residents was 37% [95% CI 35–39%]. Data from 22 outbreaks identified a resident as the index case in 54% of outbreaks and a staff member in 46%. Interpretation: The clinical presentation of COVID-19 varies widely in aged care residents, from asymptomatic to highly serious cases. In the absence of a vaccine, preventing the introduction of COVID-19 into aged care facilities is key. Rapid diagnosis, identification of primary and secondary cases and close contacts and their isolation and quarantine are of paramount importance.Funding: Queensland Advancing Clinical Research Fellowship awarded to Prof. Gulam Khandaker by Queensland Health’s Health Innovation, Investment and Research Office (HIRO), Office of the Director-General.Declaration of Interests: The authors declare no competing interests.

3.
PLoS One ; 16(5): e0251737, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1238769

ABSTRACT

IMPORTANCE: During pandemics Agent Based Models (ABMs) can model complex, fine-grained behavioural interactions occurring in social networks, that contribute to disease transmission by novel viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. OBJECTIVE: We present a new agent-based model (ABM) called the Discrete-Event, Simulated Social Agent based Network Transmission model (DESSABNeT) and demonstrate its ability to model the spread of COVID-19 in large cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Gold Coast. Our aim was to validate the model with its disease dynamics and underlying social network. DESIGN: DESSABNeT relies on disease transmission within simulated social networks. It employs an epidemiological SEIRD+M (Susceptible, exposed, infected, recovered, died and managed) structure. One hundred simulations were run for each city, with simulated social restrictions closely modelling real restrictions imposed in each location. MAIN OUTCOME(S) AND MEASURE(S): The mean predicted daily incidence of COVID-19 cases were compared to real case incidence data for each city. Reff and health service utilisation outputs were compared to the literature, or for the Gold Coast with daily incidence of hospitalisation. RESULTS: DESSABNeT modelled multiple physical distancing restrictions and predicted epidemiological outcomes of Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, validating this model for future simulation work. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: DESSABNeT is a valid platform to model the spread of COVID-19 in large cities in Australia and potentially internationally. The platform is suitable to model different combinations of social restrictions, or to model contact tracing, predict, and plan for, the impact on hospital and ICU admissions, and deaths; and also the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and optimal social restrictions during vaccination.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Disease Transmission, Infectious/statistics & numerical data , Social Behavior , Urban Population/statistics & numerical data , Australia , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Humans , Models, Statistical , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data
5.
EClinicalMedicine ; 33: 100771, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1120907

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities (ACFs) often have devastating consequences. However, epidemiologically these outbreaks are not well defined. We aimed to define such outbreaks in ACFs by systematically reviewing literature published during the current COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We searched 11 bibliographic databases for literature published on COVID-19 in ACFs between December 2019 and September 2020. Original studies reporting extractable epidemiological data as part of outbreak investigations or non-outbreak surveillance of ACFs were included in this systematic review and meta-analysis. PROSPERO registration: CRD42020211424. FINDINGS: We identified 5,148 publications and selected 49 studies from four continents reporting data on 214,380 residents in 8,502 ACFs with 25,567 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Aged care residents form a distinct vulnerable population with single-facility attack rates of 45% [95% CI 32-58%] and case fatality rates of 23% [95% CI 18-28%]. Of the cases, 31% [95% CI 28-34%] were asymptomatic. The rate of hospitalization amongst residents was 37% [95% CI 35-39%]. Data from 21 outbreaks identified a resident as the index case in 58% of outbreaks and a staff member in 42%. Findings from the included studies were heterogeneous and of low to moderate quality in risk of bias assessment. INTERPRETATION: The clinical presentation of COVID-19 varies widely in ACFs residents, from asymptomatic to highly serious cases. Preventing the introduction of COVID-19 into ACFs is key, and both residents and staff are a priority group for COVID-19 vaccination. Rapid diagnosis, identification of primary and secondary cases and close contacts plus their isolation and quarantine are of paramount importance. FUNDING: Queensland Advancing Clinical Research Fellowship awarded to Prof. Gulam Khandaker by Queensland Health's Health Innovation, Investment and Research Office (HIRO), Office of the Director-General.

6.
Intern Med J ; 51(1): 42-51, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-944728

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization recognised clusters of pneumonia-like cases due to a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 became a pandemic 71 days later. AIM: To report the clinical and epidemiological features, laboratory data and outcomes of the first group of 11 returned travellers with COVID-19 in Australia. METHODS: This is a retrospective, multi-centre case series. All patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection were admitted to tertiary referral hospitals in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. RESULTS: The median age of the patient cohort was 42 years (interquartile range (IQR), 24-53 years) with six men and five women. Eight (72.7%) patients had returned from Wuhan, one from Shenzhen, one from Japan and one from Europe. Possible human-to-human transmission from close family contacts in gatherings overseas occurred in two cases. Symptoms on admission were fever, cough and sore throat (n = 9, 81.8%). Co-morbidities included hypertension (n = 3, 27.3%) and hypercholesterolaemia (n = 2, 18.2%). No patients developed severe acute respiratory distress nor required intensive care unit admission or mechanical ventilation. After a median hospital stay of 14.5 days (IQR, 6.75-21), all patients were discharged. CONCLUSIONS: This is a historical record of the first COVID-19 cases in Australia during the early biocontainment phase of the national response. These findings were invaluable for establishing early inpatient and outpatient COVID-19 models of care and informing the management of COVID-19 over time as the outbreak evolved. Future research should extend this Australian case series to examine global epidemiological variation of this novel infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Discharge , Retrospective Studies , Tertiary Care Centers , Young Adult
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