[Epidemiological characteristics of asymptomatic infection cases of COVID-19 in Guangdong province].Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi. 2020 Sep 10; 41(9):1406-1410.ZL
Objective: To analyze the epidemiological characteristics of the cases firstly reported as "asymptomatic infection of COVID-19" in Guangdong province. Methods: The follow-up observation method was used to continuously track and observe the cases firstly reported as "asymptomatic patients with COVID-19" in Guangdong province from January 14 to March 31, 2020. The epidemiological data of the cases were collected to analyze their epidemiological characteristics, outcome and influencing factors. Results: From January 14 to March 31, 2020, a total of 325 cases were firstly reported as "asymptomatic infections of COVID-19" in Guangdong province. The epidemic curve of asymptomatic infection cases was similar to that of confirmed cases, and it had two peaks. The first peak was from January 27 to February 5, and the second peak was from March 17 to March 26. Of the 325 cases, 184 (56.6%) were subsequently converted to confirmed cases. These cases were defined as incubation period asymptomatic infection cases. The age median of the cases was 40 years, and 93.5% (172/184) of the cases showed symptoms within 3 days after the first positive nucleic acid tests were conducted, and 141 (43.4%) of the 325 cases remained asymptomatic status until they were cured and discharged. They were inapparent infection cases, accounting for 8.6% (141/1 642) of those diagnosed with COVID-19 in Guangdong province during the same period. The age median of inapparent infection cases was 27 years. The median of the interval between the first positive nucleic acid test and discharge was 14 days. Up to 90.8% (138/141) of the inapparent infection cases were discharged for centralized medical observation within 28 days. The longest interval between the first positive nucleic acid test and the last positive nucleic acid test was 73 days. The positive rate of nucleic acid test was 0.3% in close contacts of inapparent infection cases and 2.2% in close contacts of incubation period asymptomatic infection cases. There were significant differences in age distribution and source of infection between incubation period asymptomatic infection cases and inapparent infection cases (P<0.05). Old age was the risk factor for the conversion of firstly reported asymptomatic infection cases to confirmed cases. Compared with the 0-19-year-old group, The patients aged 40-59 years and 60 years and above were more likely to become confirmed cases. The OR (95%CI) values were 2.730 (1.380-5.402) and 5.302 (2.199-12.783), and P values were 0.004 and 0.000, respectively. People being infected in China were more likely to become confirmed cases (OR=7.121, P=0.000). Conclusions: There were asymptomatic infection cases among patients diagnosed with COVID-19. The infectiousness of incubation period asymptomatic infection cases might be stronger than that of inapparent infection cases. The proportion of younger cases among asymptomatic infection cases was higher than that of the confirmed cases. Old age and domestic infection were the risk factors for the conversion of asymptomatic infection cases to confirmed cases, to which more attention should be paid. Further serological investigations are needed to provide a basis for the development of COVID-19 prevention and control strategies.