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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic since 2005; Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic Discussion Forum.

Coronavirus most likely to be pass

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    Posted: May 03 2020 at 4:01pm
  Coronavirus most likely to be passed on in early stages of illness or before symptoms appear, Taiwan study says

Taiwan’s Covid-19 controls involved identifying close contacts of infected people and then quarantining and monitoring them. Photo: Reuters

Taiwan’s Covid-19 controls involved identifying close contacts of infected people and then quarantining and monitoring them. Photo: Reuters

Most transmission of Covid-19 occurs at the very early stage of the disease or before the onset of symptoms, a study based on Taiwan's contact tracing system has found.

The research looked at the outcomes for 2,761 close contacts linked to Taiwan's 100 confirmed cases of the disease caused by a new coronavirus up to March 18.

Only 22 of those contacts were found to have contracted Covid-19, and all of them caught the disease from people who had not yet reached their sixth day of illness or had not even started to show symptoms.

The findings – published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine on Friday – come as countries around the world are looking to find the best ways to stop the disease spreading as they ease social distancing measures and start to reopen their economies.

They provide important information for global Covid-19 control measures, according to JAMA Internal Medicine editor-at-large Robert Steinbrook.

“The finding that asymptomatic people and those with minimal or fewer symptoms early in infection are those most likely to transmit Covid-19 strongly argues for maintaining social distancing and having people wear face masks to reduce the potential for transmission,” he wrote in an editor’s note, that also said it highlighted the importance of comprehensive contact tracing and testing.

“Testing only those people who are symptomatic will miss many infections and render contact tracing less effective,” he said.

Taiwan has been hailed as a model for containment of the respiratory disease that has infected more than 3.4 million people worldwide and caused over 240,000 deaths. 

Those who came into contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases just before or soon after symptoms appeared were most likely to become infected

Researchers say findings highlight the importance of early contact tracing and tracking as well as social distancing

  Updated: 11:00pm, 3 May, 2020

Taiwan’s Covid-19 controls involved identifying close contacts of infected people and then quarantining and monitoring them. 

The Taiwan Centres for Disease Control reported 432 total cases as of May 3, out of a population of around 24 million, on an island that has close travel and business ties with mainland China, where the disease was first identified.

Contact tracing in Taiwan has involved identifying people who had more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact with a person confirmed to have Covid-19 without “appropriate” personal protective equipment and then quarantining and monitoring them at home for 14 days.

The latest study on those cases, conducted in affiliation with the Taiwan Centres for Disease Control, could help health authorities determine how to best direct resources for contact tracing, the authors said.

“The take-home message is that the transmission was the most intense immediately before and after the onset of the symptoms,” co-author Lin Hsien-Ho, a professor at the Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at National Taiwan University, told JAMA.

“The risk of infection decreased substantially after the first week of symptom onset,” he said, noting the findings align with virological studies on when the presence of the virus peaks.

Of the 852 people who had close contact with confirmed cases after the sixth day of their illness, none of them contracted the disease.

There were also no confirmed cases linked to asymptomatic patients, the researchers found, but those who were exposed before patients showed symptoms were at risk.

Countries around the world are rushing to build teams of thousands of contract tracers or launch apps with similar capabilities to trace contacts and isolate and test potential cases before they can spread the disease to others.

The World Health Organisation has recommended that people who were in contact with a Covid-19 patient two days before the onset of symptoms should be traced, and this should continue for all contacts in the 14 days after the emergence of symptoms.

The authors of the Taiwan-based study suggest that, based on their data, in situations where the number of index cases and contacts is too large for all contacts to be traced, contact tracing should focus on people who came into contact with a sick person just before or soon after the onset of symptoms.

The study also found people living in the same households or part of the same family as confirmed cases were at greater risk than other groups, including health care workers. Their risk was seven to eight times higher than average, according to Lin.

The researchers noted that they could not completely separate out the effect of this close family and household contact with the early stage transmission of the disease, but found that pattern existed across different types of exposure.


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EdwinSm, View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote EdwinSm, Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 03 2020 at 10:34pm

Thanks, that was an interesting report.

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