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Coronavirus Disease 2019 Cluster Originating in a Primary School Teachers’ Room in Japan

39 Pages Posted: 28 May 2021

See all articles by Yuta Aizawa

Yuta Aizawa

Niigata University, Department of Pediatrics

Yugo Shobukawa

Niigata University, Department of Active Ageing

Nobuko Tomiyama

Niigata Prefectural Office, Department of Health and Welfare

Hitoshi Nakayama

Niigata Prefectural Office, Department of Health and Welfare

Masako Takahashi

Niigata Prefectural Office, Department of Health and Welfare

Junko Yanagita

Niigata Prefectural Office, Department of Health and Welfare

Noriko Kaji

Kashiwazaki Health Care Center

Tatsuki Ikuse

Niigata University, Department of Pediatrics

Ryohei Izumita

Niigata University, Department of Pediatrics

Takayuki Yamanaka

Niigata City General Hospital, Department of Pediatrics

Satoshi Hasegawa

Niigata Prefectural Patient Control Center, Pediatric Liaison

Reiko Saito

Niigata University, Department of International Health (Public Health)

Akihiko Saitoh

Niigata University

More...

Abstract

Background: School closures are a subject of debate during the present coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Because children are not the main driver of COVID-19 transmission in the community, school education must be prioritized in conjunction with appropriate infection prevention and control measures, as determined by local COVID-19 incidence.

Methods: We investigated causes and transmission routes of a primary school cluster of COVID-19 that occurred during November and December 2020 in Niigata, Japan.

Findings: In the cluster, the virus spread among teachers, then from teachers to students, and then to their family members. This primary school cluster comprised 26 infected patients and included teachers (13/33, 39%), students (9/211, 4%), and family members (4/65, 6%). The secondary attack rate from the three index teachers to the remaining 30 teachers was 33%; however, the rate to students was only 4%. Factors contributing to cluster formation include the fact that two of the index teachers continued working while symptomatic and that the environment and infection prevention measures in the teachers’ room were inadequate.

Interpretation: To open schools safely and without interruption, adequate measures to prevent COVID-19 infection in schools should be emphasized not only for children but also for teachers and their work environment.

Funding Information: Health and Labour Sciences Research Grants (20CA2035).

Declaration of Interests: The authors have no competing interests to declare.

Ethics Approval Statement: Because COVID-19 is designated as an infectious disease by the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases Act, investigations of outbreaks and contact tracing are led by the public health service of health centres, under the authority of the Department of Health and Welfare, Niigata Prefectural Office. We used anonymous and public data; thus, the requirement for informed consent was waived for this study. This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Niigata University (2020-0499).

Keywords: school, cluster, COVID-19, teachers’ room, child

Suggested Citation

Aizawa, Yuta and Shobukawa, Yugo and Tomiyama, Nobuko and Nakayama, Hitoshi and Takahashi, Masako and Yanagita, Junko and Kaji, Noriko and Ikuse, Tatsuki and Izumita, Ryohei and Yamanaka, Takayuki and Hasegawa, Satoshi and Saito, Reiko and Saitoh, Akihiko, Coronavirus Disease 2019 Cluster Originating in a Primary School Teachers’ Room in Japan. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3855441 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3855441

Yuta Aizawa

Niigata University, Department of Pediatrics ( email )

8050 Ikarashi 2 Nocho Nishi Ward
Niigata Prefecture
Niigata, 950-218
Japan

Yugo Shobukawa

Niigata University, Department of Active Ageing ( email )

8050 Ikarashi 2 Nocho Nishi Ward
Niigata Prefecture
Niigata, 950-218
Japan

Nobuko Tomiyama

Niigata Prefectural Office, Department of Health and Welfare ( email )

Hitoshi Nakayama

Niigata Prefectural Office, Department of Health and Welfare ( email )

Masako Takahashi

Niigata Prefectural Office, Department of Health and Welfare ( email )

Junko Yanagita

Niigata Prefectural Office, Department of Health and Welfare ( email )

Noriko Kaji

Kashiwazaki Health Care Center ( email )

Tatsuki Ikuse

Niigata University, Department of Pediatrics ( email )

8050 Ikarashi 2 Nocho Nishi Ward
Niigata Prefecture
Niigata, 950-218
Japan

Ryohei Izumita

Niigata University, Department of Pediatrics ( email )

8050 Ikarashi 2 Nocho Nishi Ward
Niigata Prefecture
Niigata, 950-218
Japan

Takayuki Yamanaka

Niigata City General Hospital, Department of Pediatrics ( email )

Japan

Satoshi Hasegawa

Niigata Prefectural Patient Control Center, Pediatric Liaison ( email )

Reiko Saito

Niigata University, Department of International Health (Public Health) ( email )

8050 Ikarashi 2 Nocho Nishi Ward
Niigata Prefecture
Niigata, 950-218
Japan

Akihiko Saitoh (Contact Author)

Niigata University

8050 Ikarashi 2 Nocho Nishi Ward
Niigata Prefecture
Niigata, 950-218
Japan

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