Evidence of Early Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 Involving a School-aged Child

WMJ. 2021 Oct;120(3):233-236.


Introduction: Little is known about the role of school-aged children and household transmission at the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. To evaluate for SARS-CoV-2 in school-aged children and assess household transmission, we performed reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction on 670 archived specimens that were collected between September 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020 as part of a community-based study.

Case presentation: A single SARS-CoV-2 case was detected in an 11-year-old girl on March 18, 2020, resulting in very low prevalence (0.15% [95% CI, 0.03-0.84]) in this population. This case was associated with SARS-CoV-2 detection in all other household members. Symptoms were reported as mild to moderate. Whole genome sequencing supported household transmission of near-identical viruses within the 19B clade.

Discussion: This case represents the earliest known household cluster of SARS-CoV2 in Wisconsin.

Conclusion: This case suggests that household transmission associated with school-aged children may have contributed to wide seeding across populations.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • RNA, Viral
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Schools


  • RNA, Viral