A Study on Infectivity of Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Carriers

Respir Med. 2020 Aug;169:106026. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2020.106026. Epub 2020 May 13.

Abstract

Background: An ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread around the world. It is debatable whether asymptomatic COVID-19 virus carriers are contagious. We report here a case of the asymptomatic patient and present clinical characteristics of 455 contacts, which aims to study the infectivity of asymptomatic carriers.

Material and methods: 455 contacts who were exposed to the asymptomatic COVID-19 virus carrier became the subjects of our research. They were divided into three groups: 35 patients, 196 family members and 224 hospital staffs. We extracted their epidemiological information, clinical records, auxiliary examination results and therapeutic schedules.

Results: The median contact time for patients was four days and that for family members was five days. Cardiovascular disease accounted for 25% among original diseases of patients. Apart from hospital staffs, both patients and family members were isolated medically. During the quarantine, seven patients plus one family member appeared new respiratory symptoms, where fever was the most common one. The blood counts in most contacts were within a normal range. All CT images showed no sign of COVID-19 infection. No severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections was detected in 455 contacts by nucleic acid test.

Conclusion: In summary, all the 455 contacts were excluded from SARS-CoV-2 infection and we conclude that the infectivity of some asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 carriers might be weak.

Keywords: Asymptomatic carrier; Contacts; Infectivity; SARS-CoV-2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asymptomatic Diseases*
  • Betacoronavirus / genetics*
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • RNA, Viral / analysis*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult

Substances

  • RNA, Viral

Supplementary concepts

  • COVID-19
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2