JOURNAL ARTICLE

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus transmission among health care workers: Implication for infection control

Sarah H Alfaraj, Jaffar A Al-Tawfiq, Talal A Altuwaijri, Marzouqa Alanazi, Nojoom Alzahrani, Ziad A Memish
American Journal of Infection Control 2018, 46 (2): 165-168
28958446

BACKGROUND: Many outbreaks of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have occurred in health care settings and involved health care workers (HCWs). We describe the occurrence of an outbreak among HCWs and attempt to characterize at-risk exposures to improve future infection control interventions.

METHODS: This study included an index case and all HCW contacts. All contacts were screened for MERS-CoV using polymerase chain reaction.

RESULTS: During the study period in 2015, the index case was a 30-year-old Filipino nurse who had a history of unprotected exposure to a MERS-CoV-positive case on May 15, 2015, and had multiple negative tests for MERS-CoV. Weeks later, she was diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis and MERS-CoV infection. A total of 73 staff were quarantined for 14 days, and nasopharyngeal swabs were taken on days 2, 5, and 12 postexposure. Of those contacts, 3 (4%) were confirmed positive for MERS-CoV. An additional 18 staff were quarantined and had MERS-CoV swabs. A fourth case was confirmed positive on day 12. Subsequent contact investigations revealed a fourth-generation transmission. Only 7 (4.5%) of the total 153 contacts were positive for MERS-CoV.

CONCLUSIONS: The role of HCWs in MERS-CoV transmission is complex. Although most MERS-CoV-infected HCWs are asymptomatic or have mild disease, fatal infections can occur and HCWs can play a major role in propagating health care facility outbreaks. This investigation highlights the need to continuously review infection control guidance relating to the role of HCWs in MERS-CoV transmission in health care outbreaks, especially as it relates to the complex questions on definition of risky exposures, who to test, and the frequency of MERS-CoV testing; criteria for who to quarantine and for how long; and clearance and return to active duty criteria.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article

Discussion

You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read
28958446
×

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.

×

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"