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Asymptomatic Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus infection using a serologic survey in Korea



Asymptomatic Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus infection using a serologic survey in Korea



Epidemiology and Health 40: E2018014



The rates of asymptomatic infection with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus vary. A serologic study was conducted to determine the asymptomatic MERS infection rate in healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers by exposure status. Study participants were selected from contacts of MERS patients based on a priority system in 4 regions strongly affected by the 2015 MERS outbreak. A sero-epidemiological survey was performed in 1,610 contacts (average duration from exposure to test, 4.8 months), and the collected sera were tested using an enzyme-linked immunespecific assay (ELISA), immunofluorescence assay (IFA), and plaque reduction neutralization antibody test (PRNT). Among the 1,610 contacts, there were 7 ELISA-positive cases, of which 1 exhibited positive IFA and PRNT results. The asymptomatic infection rate was 0.060% (95% confidence interval, 0.002 to 0.346). The asymptomatic MERS case was a patient who had been hospitalized with patient zero on the same floor of the hospital at the same time. The case was quarantined at home for 2 weeks after discharge, and had underlying diseases, including hypertension, angina, and degenerative arthritis. The asymptomatic infection was acquired via healthcare-associated transmission. Thus, it is necessary to extend serologic studies to include inpatient contacts who have no symptoms.

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Accession: 051315062

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PMID: 29656631


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