Coronavirus – Credit CDC PHIL
Last night the NEJM published a study looking at the transmission of the MERS coronavirus to secondary contacts within a household, penned by such notables as Dr. Christian Drosten and Dr. Ziad Memish. The study focused on 26 index cases and their 280 household contacts, and found a relatively low (12 cases, 4%) incidence of household transmission.
Additionally, of the 26 index cases, only 6 (23%) appeared to have passed the infection on to other household members. Of those infections, only 7 were detected using RT-PRC testing, while 5 were detected though serology.
Christian Drosten, M.D., Benjamin Meyer, M.Sc., Marcel A. Müller, Ph.D., Victor M. Corman, M.D., Malak Al-Masri, R.N., Raheela Hossain, M.D., Hosam Madani, M.Sc., Andrea Sieberg, B.Sc., Berend Jan Bosch, Ph.D., Erik Lattwein, Ph.D., Raafat F. Alhakeem, M.D., Abdullah M. Assiri, M.D., Waleed Hajomar, M.Sc., Ali M. Albarrak, M.D., Jaffar A. Al-Tawfiq, M.D., Alimuddin I. Zumla, M.D., and Ziad A. Memish, M.D.
Thursday, 28 August 2014
Click on graph to enlarge.
Some Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) questions remain stubbornly unanswered even after two and a half years.
Today comes a study from Prof Christian Drosten and colleagues, including Prof Ziad Memish, released by the New England Journal of Medicine. This study takes a look at MERS-CoV infection among the contacts of MERS cases.
While a 4% transmission rate in these households is reassuring, it stands in sharp contrast to the much higher transmission rates observed in healthcare facilities.
To date we’ve seen more than 800 confirmed cases - and it is assumed that additionally, some unknown (but likely significant) number of cases have gone undetected.
As only a handful of those cases have been attributed to animal-to-human transmission, it is obvious that under some conditions and settings the MERS coronavirus transmits more efficiently.
Today’s study adds to our knowledge of the virus, but there still remain a lot of unanswered questions including the role of mild or asymptomatic transmission. And of course the obvious concern, that the longer the virus circulates in people, the greater the chances that it will better adapt to human physiology.