Nosocomial infections among patients with COVID-19, SARS and MERS: a rapid review and meta-analysis

Ann Transl Med. 2020 May;8(10):629. doi: 10.21037/atm-20-3324.


Background: COVID-19, a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, has now spread to most countries and regions of the world. As patients potentially infected by SARS-CoV-2 need to visit hospitals, the incidence of nosocomial infection can be expected to be high. Therefore, a comprehensive and objective understanding of nosocomial infection is needed to guide the prevention and control of the epidemic.

Methods: We searched major international and Chinese databases: Medicine, Web of Science, Embase, Cochrane, CBM (China Biology Medicine disc), CNKI (China National Knowledge Infrastructure) and Wanfang database for case series or case reports on nosocomial infections of COVID-19, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndromes) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome) from their inception to March 31st, 2020. We conducted a meta-analysis of the proportion of nosocomial infection patients in the diagnosed patients, occupational distribution of nosocomial infection medical staff.

Results: We included 40 studies. Among the confirmed patients, the proportions of nosocomial infections with early outbreaks of COVID-19, SARS, and MERS were 44.0%, 36.0%, and 56.0%, respectively. Of the confirmed patients, the medical staff and other hospital-acquired infections accounted for 33.0% and 2.0% of COVID-19 cases, 37.0% and 24.0% of SARS cases, and 19.0% and 36.0% of MERS cases, respectively. Nurses and doctors were the most affected among the infected medical staff. The mean numbers of secondary cases caused by one index patient were 29.3 and 6.3 for SARS and MERS, respectively.

Conclusions: The proportion of nosocomial infection in patients with COVID-19 was 44% in the early outbreak. Patients attending hospitals should take personal protection. Medical staff should be awareness of the disease to protect themselves and the patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; meta-analysis; nosocomial infection; rapid review.