A Cohort of SARS-CoV-2 Infected Asymptomatic and Pre-Symptomatic Contacts from COVID-19 Contact Tracing in Hubei Province, China: Short-Term Outcomes
32 Pages Posted: 12 Oct 2020More...
Background: Contact tracing with quarantine of SARS-CoV-2 positive contacts is required on an unprecedented scale worldwide.
Methods: During February 1-March 25, 2020, COVID-19 cases in Hubei province were traced by more than 1800 teams. PCR positive contacts without COVID-19 symptoms with two or more consecutive positive tests for SARS-CoV-2 were categorized as: (a) asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 if without COVID-19 symptoms throughout the > 14 days of quarantine, (b) pre-symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 if COVID-19 symptoms started during the quarantine, and (c) false positive contacts if two consecutive follow-up qRT-PCRs were negative after an initial positive SARS-CoV-2 test.
Findings: 48,944 COVID-19 patients identified 277,066 contacts who were tested for SARS-CoV-2; upon ascertainment, 3,152 contacts without symptoms were SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive without symptoms, and 50 contacts were false positives. After quarantine, 2928 were classified as asymptomatic and 174 were pre-symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 contacts, with a pre-symptomatic case fatality (11/174) of 6.3%. The average interval between the initial SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive and onset of COVID-19 symptoms was 9.7 days, and the average time from onset of symptoms to death for deceased pre-symptomatic cases was 6.3 days (range = 1 - 35 days).
Interpretation: Contact tracing of COVID-19 cases required many contact tracing teams, testing all contacts without COVID-19 symptoms, and quarantine of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 positive contacts. Countries with limited contact tracing, testing and quarantine of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infected contacts under-estimate the number of infected asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 contacts, and their contribution to COVID-19 spread.
Funding Statement: National Natural Science Foundation of China (82041021), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (INV-006371).
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
Ethics Approval Statement: This study was approved by the Medical Research Ethics Review Committee of Sun Yat-sen University School of Public Health (No.: 2020016). Consistent with public health regulations the informed consent was waived because data were collected as part of public health practice associated with the COVID-19 outbreak investigation and response.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, Covid-19, Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2, Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2, Pre-symptomatic SARS-CoV-2, Pre-symptomatic SARS-CoV-2, contrat tracing, contrat tracing
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation