Nosocomial Transmission of COVID-19: The Need to Protect Both Patients and Healthcare Personnel

In their narrative literature review, Abbas, et al. (2021) sought to compile current published reports on nosocomial outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), evaluate the role of healthcare workers (HCWs) in transmission, and evaluate outbreak management practices.

As the researchers state, "The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed a large burden on hospitals and healthcare providers worldwide, which increases the risk of nosocomial transmission and outbreaks to 'non-COVID' patients or residents, who represent the highest-risk population in terms of mortality, as well as HCWs. To date, there are several reports on nosocomial outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2, and although the attack rate is variable, it can be as high as 60%, with high mortality. There is currently little evidence on transmission dynamics, particularly using genomic sequencing, and the role of HCWs in initiating or amplifying nosocomial outbreaks is not elucidated. There has been a paradigm shift in management practices of viral respiratory outbreaks, that includes widespread testing of patients (or residents) and HCWs, including asymptomatic individuals. These expanded testing criteria appear to be crucial in identifying and controlling outbreaks."

Reference: Abbas M, et al. Nosocomial transmission and outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019: the need to protect both patients and healthcare workers. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. Vol. 10, No. 7. 2021.

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