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Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients Can Contaminate Their Surroundings: an Environment Sampling Study.
mSphere. 2020 06 24; 5(3)M

Abstract

The contamination of patients' surroundings by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains understudied. We sampled the surroundings and the air of six negative-pressure non-intensive care unit (non-ICU) rooms in a designated isolation ward in Chengdu, China, that were occupied by 13 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients who had returned from overseas travel, including 2 asymptomatic patients. A total of 44 of 112 (39.3%) surface samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2 as detected by real-time PCR, suggesting extensive contamination, although all of the air samples were negative. In particular, in a single room occupied by an asymptomatic patient, four sites were SARS-CoV-2 positive, highlighting that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients do contaminate their surroundings and impose risks for others with close contact. Placement of COVID-19 patients in rooms with negative pressure may bring a false feeling of safety, and the importance of rigorous environment cleaning should be emphasized.IMPORTANCE Although it has been well recognized that the virus SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, can be acquired by exposure to fomites, surprisingly, the contamination of patients' surroundings by SARS-CoV-2 is largely unknown, as there have been few studies. We performed an environmental sampling study for 13 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients and found extensive contamination of patients' surroundings. In particular, we found that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients contaminated their surroundings and therefore imposed risks for other people. Environment cleaning should be emphasized in negative-pressure rooms. The findings may be useful to guide infection control practice to protect health care workers.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Department of Infection Control, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.Department of Infection Control, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.Department of Infection Control, Chengdu Public Health Clinical Medical Center, Chengdu, China.Department of Infection Control, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.Department of Laboratory Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.Department of Laboratory Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.Department of Infection Control, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China zongzhiy@scu.edu.cn. Center of Infectious Diseases, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China. Center for Pathogen Research, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32581071

Citation

Wei, Li, et al. "Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients Can Contaminate Their Surroundings: an Environment Sampling Study." MSphere, vol. 5, no. 3, 2020.
Wei L, Lin J, Duan X, et al. Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients Can Contaminate Their Surroundings: an Environment Sampling Study. mSphere. 2020;5(3).
Wei, L., Lin, J., Duan, X., Huang, W., Lu, X., Zhou, J., & Zong, Z. (2020). Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients Can Contaminate Their Surroundings: an Environment Sampling Study. MSphere, 5(3). https://doi.org/10.1128/mSphere.00442-20
Wei L, et al. Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients Can Contaminate Their Surroundings: an Environment Sampling Study. mSphere. 2020 06 24;5(3) PubMed PMID: 32581071.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Asymptomatic COVID-19 Patients Can Contaminate Their Surroundings: an Environment Sampling Study. AU - Wei,Li, AU - Lin,Ji, AU - Duan,Xiaofei, AU - Huang,Wenzhi, AU - Lu,Xiaojun, AU - Zhou,Juan, AU - Zong,Zhiyong, Y1 - 2020/06/24/ PY - 2020/6/26/entrez PY - 2020/6/26/pubmed PY - 2020/7/7/medline KW - COVID-19 KW - SARS-CoV-2 KW - environmental contamination JF - mSphere JO - mSphere VL - 5 IS - 3 N2 - The contamination of patients' surroundings by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) remains understudied. We sampled the surroundings and the air of six negative-pressure non-intensive care unit (non-ICU) rooms in a designated isolation ward in Chengdu, China, that were occupied by 13 laboratory-confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients who had returned from overseas travel, including 2 asymptomatic patients. A total of 44 of 112 (39.3%) surface samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2 as detected by real-time PCR, suggesting extensive contamination, although all of the air samples were negative. In particular, in a single room occupied by an asymptomatic patient, four sites were SARS-CoV-2 positive, highlighting that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients do contaminate their surroundings and impose risks for others with close contact. Placement of COVID-19 patients in rooms with negative pressure may bring a false feeling of safety, and the importance of rigorous environment cleaning should be emphasized.IMPORTANCE Although it has been well recognized that the virus SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19, can be acquired by exposure to fomites, surprisingly, the contamination of patients' surroundings by SARS-CoV-2 is largely unknown, as there have been few studies. We performed an environmental sampling study for 13 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients and found extensive contamination of patients' surroundings. In particular, we found that asymptomatic COVID-19 patients contaminated their surroundings and therefore imposed risks for other people. Environment cleaning should be emphasized in negative-pressure rooms. The findings may be useful to guide infection control practice to protect health care workers. SN - 2379-5042 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32581071/Asymptomatic_COVID_19_Patients_Can_Contaminate_Their_Surroundings:_an_Environment_Sampling_Study_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -