Delay in detecting asymptomatic infections behind Covid outbreak in Chandigarh’s Bapu Dham: PGI study

Man termed ‘superspreader’, attended function in locality; had 125 contacts

Delay in detecting asymptomatic infections behind Covid outbreak in Chandigarh’s Bapu Dham: PGI study

Asymptomatic infections were responsible for the late detection and delayed isolation of coronavirus cases. File photo.

Naina Mishra
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 19

Asymptomatic infections were responsible for the late detection and delayed isolation of coronavirus cases leading to a widespread outbreak in Chandigarh’s Bapu Dham Colony, according to researchers of PGIMER. 

The doctors of PGIMER have qualified the first infected man from Bapu Dham Colony, as the city’s first ‘superspreader’, in the recent case study published in the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health.

A superspreader is someone who is more likely to infect other humans as compared to a typically-infected person.

According to the researchers, there may be two reasons behind the outbreak. The person was living in a densely populated, low-income, settlement colony where physical distancing between individuals was not possible.The person also had a high number of community contacts.This, coupled with asymptomatic infections, was responsible for the late detection and delayed isolation of cases leading to a widespread outbreak.

“Even though all efforts were made to do contact tracing of the super spreader, these numbers may not reflect the true story as sometimes the patients are not very forthcoming with their history of contact due to stigma associated with quarantine. Another important limitation was that 10 community contacts belonging to 3 families were only screened and not tested by RT-PCR for COVID-19,” read the report.

Furthermore, the report said that for contacts of asymptomatic cases who tested negative, repeat testing was not done between 5-14 days. Repeat testing in such cases is recommended, as it is difficult to assess the last date of exposure in such cases and the limited sensitivity of the RT-PCR test.

The 33-year-old man termed 'superspreader' worked as a healthcare worker (HCW) in a tertiary care hospital had tested positive for RT-PCR for SARS-CoV2. On contact tracing, a history of attending a small community function in the locality was found and a total of 125 contacts were traced, of which 65 were community contacts and 60 were workplace contacts.

The report said that the testing was done for 55 community contacts and all 60 workplace contacts, of which 34 community contacts and 6 workplace contacts were found positive for COVID-19. Therefore in total, 49 COVID-19 infections had direct or indirect contact with the index case, qualifying him as a “superspreader”.

 

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