HealthDay News — Person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States has been recorded between 2 people with prolonged, unprotected exposure while the patient was symptomatic, according to a study published online March 13 in The Lancet.
Isaac Ghinai, MBBS, from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues investigated the first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the state of Illinois. Contacts with exposure to a patient with confirmed COVID-19 were actively monitored for symptoms for 14 days after their last exposure. Those who developed fever, cough, or shortness of breath became persons under investigation and underwent SARS-CoV-2 testing. In addition, testing was conducted on a convenience sample of 32 asymptomatic health care personnel contacts.
The researchers identified patient 1, a woman in her 60s, who returned from China in mid-January 2020 and was hospitalized with pneumonia one week later and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Her husband (patient 2) had frequent close contact with her although he did not travel. Eight days later, he was admitted and tested positive for SARS-CoV2. Three hundred seventy-two contacts of both cases were identified; 347 underwent active symptom monitoring. Of these, 43 became persons under investigation; they all tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, as did all 32 asymptomatic health care personnel.
“Our ongoing investigation has only detected transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in a single household contact with frequent, prolonged interactions with the index patient,” the authors write.