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To describe the infection control preparedness for Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) due to SARS-CoV-2 [previously known as 2019-novel coronavirus] in the first 42 days after announcement of a cluster of pneumonia in China, on 31 December 2019 (day 1) in Hong Kong.
A bundle approach of active and enhanced laboratory surveillance, early airborne infection isolation, rapid molecular diagnostic testing, and contact tracing for healthcare workers (HCWs) with unprotected exposure in the hospitals was implemented. Epidemiological characteristics of confirmed cases, environmental and air samples were collected and analyzed.
From day 1 to day 42, forty-two (3.3%) of 1275 patients fulfilling active (n=29) and enhanced laboratory surveillance (n=13) confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 infection. The number of locally acquired case significantly increased from 1 (7.7%) of 13 [day 22 to day 32] to 27 (93.1%) of 29 confirmed case [day 33 to day 42] (p<0.001). Twenty-eight patients (66.6%) came from 8 family clusters. Eleven (2.7%) of 413 HCWs caring these confirmed cases were found to have unprotected exposure requiring quarantine for 14 days. None of them was infected and nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 was not observed. Environmental surveillance performed in a patient with viral load of 3.3x106 copies/ml (pooled nasopharyngeal/ throat swab) and 5.9x106 copies/ml (saliva) respectively. SARS-CoV-2 revealed in 1 (7.7%) of 13 environmental samples, but not in 8 air samples collected at a distance of 10 cm from patient's chin with or without wearing a surgical mask.
Appropriate hospital infection control measures could prevent nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
To report an outbreak of measles with epidemiological link between Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) and a hospital.
Epidemiological investigations, patients’ measles serology, and phylogenetic analysis of the hemagglutinin (H) and nucleoprotein (N) genes of measles virus isolates were conducted.
In total, 29 HKIA staff of diverse ranks and working locations were infected with measles within 1 month. Significantly fewer affected staff had history of travel than non–HKIA-related measles patients [10 of 29 (34.5%) vs 28 of 35 (80%); P < .01]. Of 9 airport staff who could recall detailed exposure history, 6 (66.7%) had visited self-service food premises at HKIA during the incubation period, where food trays, as observed during the epidemiological field investigation, were not washed after use. Furthermore, 1 airport baggage handler who was admitted to hospital A before rash onset infected 2 healthcare workers (HCWs) known to have 2 doses of MMR vaccination with positive measles IgG and lower viral loads in respiratory specimens. Infections in these 2 HCWs warranted contact tracing of another 168 persons (97 patients and 71 HCWs). Phylogenetic comparison of H and N gene sequences confirmed the clonality of outbreak strains.
Despite good herd immunity with overall seroprevalence of >95% against measles, major outbreaks of measles occurred among HKIA staff having daily contact with many international pssengers. Lessons from severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and measles outbreaks suggested that an airport can be a strategic epidemic center. Pre-exanthem transmission of measles from airport staff to HCWs with secondary vaccine failure poses a grave challenge to hospital infection control.
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