Epidemiologic and Clinical Characteristics of 26 Cases of COVID-19 Arising from Patient-to-Patient Transmission in Liaocheng, China

Clin Epidemiol. 2020 Apr 9;12:387-391. doi: 10.2147/CLEP.S249903. eCollection 2020.


Introduction: Over 40,000 cases of coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been confirmed in China. The causative agent, 2019 novel CoV (2019-nCoV), has spread rapidly to more than 25 countries worldwide. Human-to-human transmission has accounted for most of the infections outside Wuhan. Most studies to date on COVID-19 have focused on disease etiology and the genomics of 2019-nCoV, with few reports on the epidemiologic and clinical characteristics of infected patients.

Methods: We report early clinical features of 26 patients with confirmed COVID-19 who were admitted to Liaocheng Infectious Disease Hospital in Shandong Province.

Results: The median age of the 26 patients with COVID-19 in this study was 42 years. The most common occupation was retail staff (16 patients, 61.54%), with 11 patients or their family members working at the same supermarket. Only 2 patients had visited Wuhan since December 2019; the other cases of 2019-nCoV infection arose from patient-to-patient transmission. Twelve patients had more than one sign or symptom; however, seven patients had no sign or symptom. The average time from symptom onset to admission was 4.5 days. CT revealed signs of bronchitis in 2 patients and unilateral and bilateral pneumonia in 9 and 15 patients, respectively. The patients received the following treatments: antiviral therapy (100%), Chinese medicine (76.92%), antibiotics (50%), gastric mucosal protection (19.23%), immunotherapy (7.69%), and glucocorticoids (3.85%). Most patients (25/26) required ≥1 treatment.

Discussion: In contrast to previous reports, most patients (24/26) had not been in close contact with individuals from Wuhan. Additionally, 11 patients or their family members worked at the same supermarket, suggesting active viral transmission in a location frequented by a large number of people. Close monitoring is essential for preventing the large-scale spread of the virus in such places.

Keywords: clinical characteristics; coronavirus disease 2019; epidemiologic characteristics; human-to-human transmission.