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Does respiratory co-infection facilitate dispersal of SARS-CoV-2? investigation of a super-spreading event in an open-space office


Weissberg, Dana; Böni, Jürg; Rampini, Silvana K; Kufner, Verena; Zaheri, Maryam; Schreiber, Peter W; Abela, Irene A; Huber, Michael; Sax, Hugo; Wolfensberger, Aline (2020). Does respiratory co-infection facilitate dispersal of SARS-CoV-2? investigation of a super-spreading event in an open-space office. Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, 9:191.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Super-spreaders are individuals infecting disproportionately large numbers of contacts. They probably play a crucial role in the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We describe a super-spreading event within a team working in an open-space office and investigate factors potentially having facilitated SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort study, semi-structured telephone interviews with all team members were carried out to identify symptoms, contacts, and adherence to basic hygiene measures. During site visits, we gathered information about workplace and seating arrangements. The secondary attack rate in office and households was calculated. Potential respiratory viral co-infections were assessed by multiplex PCR. SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequencing was performed using a tiled-amplicon sequencing approach.

RESULTS

Of 13 team members, 11 fell ill with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Due to the sequence of events and full genome sequence data, one person was considered the index case for this outbreak, directly infecting 67 to 83% of the teammates. All team members reported repetitive close contacts among themselves during joint computer work, team meetings and a "Happy Birthday" serenade. Two individuals shared nuts and dates. The arrangement of the office and meeting rooms precluded sufficient adherence to physical distancing. The index case and a further individual were diagnosed with an adenovirus serotype 4 co-infection.

CONCLUSION

We identified several environmental and behavioral factors that probably have facilitated the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The relevance of the adenovirus co-infection remains unclear and merits further investigation.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Super-spreaders are individuals infecting disproportionately large numbers of contacts. They probably play a crucial role in the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We describe a super-spreading event within a team working in an open-space office and investigate factors potentially having facilitated SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

METHODS

In this retrospective cohort study, semi-structured telephone interviews with all team members were carried out to identify symptoms, contacts, and adherence to basic hygiene measures. During site visits, we gathered information about workplace and seating arrangements. The secondary attack rate in office and households was calculated. Potential respiratory viral co-infections were assessed by multiplex PCR. SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequencing was performed using a tiled-amplicon sequencing approach.

RESULTS

Of 13 team members, 11 fell ill with Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Due to the sequence of events and full genome sequence data, one person was considered the index case for this outbreak, directly infecting 67 to 83% of the teammates. All team members reported repetitive close contacts among themselves during joint computer work, team meetings and a "Happy Birthday" serenade. Two individuals shared nuts and dates. The arrangement of the office and meeting rooms precluded sufficient adherence to physical distancing. The index case and a further individual were diagnosed with an adenovirus serotype 4 co-infection.

CONCLUSION

We identified several environmental and behavioral factors that probably have facilitated the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The relevance of the adenovirus co-infection remains unclear and merits further investigation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Medical Virology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic and Policlinic for Internal Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Infectious Diseases
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
Health Sciences > Microbiology (medical)
Health Sciences > Infectious Diseases
Health Sciences > Pharmacology (medical)
Language:English
Date:2 December 2020
Deposited On:09 Dec 2020 09:35
Last Modified:23 Jun 2024 01:46
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:2047-2994
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s13756-020-00861-z
PubMed ID:33267855
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)