Clinical and Microbiological Features of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Mild COVID-19 in Seven Crewmembers of a Cruise Ship.Intern Med. 2020 Dec 15; 59(24):3135-3140.IM
Objective To describe the clinical features and clinical course of individuals diagnosed with asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or mild coronavirus disease (COVID)-19. Patients The study participants consisted of 7 crewmembers of the passenger cruise-liner, Diamond Princess, who were admitted to our hospital after becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 aboard the ship. Methods The data on patient background and biochemical test results were obtained from the patients' medical records. All patients had a chest X-ray, and a throat swab and sputum samples were sent for culture on admission. Results The median age of the 7 patients, of whom 4 were male and 3 were female, was 39 years (range: 23-47 years). On admission, none of them had fever, but 4 (57%) had a cough. None of them showed any signs of organ damage on laboratory testing. Chest X-ray showed pneumonia in one individual, which resolved spontaneously, while the other 6 had normal chest X-ray findings. Culture of throat swabs and sputum samples revealed that 4 patients (57%) had bacterial upper respiratory infections (Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Staphylococcus aureus). The period from a positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test to negative conversion ranged from 5 to 13 days, with a median of 8 days. Conclusion Healthy young adults without risk factors who acquire SARS-CoV-2 infection may have an asymptomatic infection or may experience mild COVID-19. In addition to obesity, an older age, underlying illness, and being overweight can lead to a risk of exacerbation; thus, hospital management for such individuals may be desirable. Culturing respiratory samples may be useful for diagnosing secondary bacterial pneumonia.