<p>BACKGROUND: Sars-CoV-2 outbreaks resulted in a high case fatality rate in nursing homes (NH) worldwide. It is unknown to which extent presymptomatic residents and staff contribute to the spread of the virus. AIMS: To assess the contribution of asymptomatic and presymptomatic residents and staff in SARS-CoV-2 transmission during a large outbreak in a Dutch NH. METHODS: Observational study in a 185-bed NH with two consecutive testing strategies: testing of symptomatic cases only, followed by weekly facility-wide testing of staff and residents regardless of symptoms. Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal testing with RT-PCR for SARs-CoV-2, including sequencing of positive samples, was conducted with a standardised symptom assessment. RESULTS: 185 residents and 244 staff participated. Sequencing identified one cluster. In the symptom-based test strategy period, 3/39 residents were presymptomatic versus 38/74 residents in the period of weekly facility-wide testing (P-value &lt; 0.001). In total, 51/59 (91.1%) of SARS-CoV-2 positive staff was symptomatic, with no difference between both testing strategies (P-value 0.763). Loss of smell and taste, sore throat, headache or myalga was hardly reported in residents compared to staff (P-value &lt;0.001). Median Ct-value of presymptomatic residents was 21.3, which did not differ from symptomatic (20.8) or asymptomatic (20.5) residents (P-value 0.624). CONCLUSIONS: Symptoms in residents and staff are insufficiently recognised, reported or attributed to a possible SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, residents without (recognised) symptoms showed the same potential for viral shedding as residents with symptoms. Weekly testing was an effective strategy for early identification of SARS-Cov-2 cases, resulting in fast mitigation of the outbreak.</p>

doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afab081, hdl.handle.net/1765/136741
Age and Ageing
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Judith H. van den Besselaar, R.S. (Reina) Sikkema, Fleur M.H.P.A. Koene, Laura W. van Buul, B.B. (Bas) Oude Munnink, Ine Frénay, … BM Buurman. (2021). Are presymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections in nursing home residents unrecognised symptomatic infections? Sequence and metadata from weekly testing in an extensive nursing home outbreak. Age and Ageing, 50(5), 1454–1463. doi:10.1093/ageing/afab081