Household transmission of SARS-CoV-2

J Infect. 2020 Jul;81(1):179-182. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2020.03.040. Epub 2020 Apr 10.


Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused an epidemic in China and many other countries. Many infected clusters have been found within familial households, but the data about secondary transmission among household contacts is limited.

Methods: In this retrospective case series, we enrolled 85 patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 and their household members in Wuhan. Patients were confirmed infected with SARS-CoV-2 by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays on throat swabs. Epidemiological, clinical and laboratory data of the household members were collected.

Results: There were 155 close contacts in total. 104 contacts received RT-PCR assays, with 47 (30%) positive cases and 57 (37%) negative cases. 51 (33%) cases did not received RT-PCR tests for they showed no symptoms of pneumonia during the 2 weeks of quarantine. The infection rate of close contacts was 38% for households with 1 contact, 50% for households with 2 contacts, and 31% for households with 3 contacts.

Conclusions: The rate of secondary transmission among household contacts of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection was 30%. Our data provide insight into the rate of secondary transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in home.

Keywords: Household; SARS-CoV-2; Transmission; Wuhan.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics*
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • COVID-19
  • Child
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / transmission*
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology*
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / transmission*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Time Factors