Super-spreaders of novel coronaviruses that cause SARS, MERS and COVID-19: A systematic review

Brainard, Julii, Jones, Natalia R. ORCID:, Harrison, Florence C. D., Hammer, Charlotte C. and Lake, Iain R. ORCID: (2023) Super-spreaders of novel coronaviruses that cause SARS, MERS and COVID-19: A systematic review. Annals of Epidemiology, 82. 66-76.e6. ISSN 1047-2797

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Purpose: Most index cases with novel coronavirus infections transmit disease to just one or two other individuals, but some individuals “super-spread”—they infect many secondary cases. Understanding common factors that super-spreaders may share could inform outbreak models, and be used to guide contact tracing during outbreaks. Methods: We searched in MEDLINE, Scopus, and preprints to identify studies about people documented as transmitting pathogens that cause SARS, MERS, or COVID-19 to at least nine other people. We extracted data to describe them by age, sex, location, occupation, activities, symptom severity, any underlying conditions, disease outcome and undertook quality assessment for outbreaks published by June 2021. Results: The most typical super-spreader was a male age 40+. Most SARS or MERS super-spreaders were very symptomatic, the super-spreading occurred in hospital settings and frequently the individual died. In contrast, COVID-19 super-spreaders often had very mild disease and most COVID-19 super-spreading happened in community settings. Conclusions: SARS and MERS super-spreaders were often symptomatic, middle- or older-age adults who had a high mortality rate. In contrast, COVID-19 super-spreaders tended to have mild disease and were any adult age. More outbreak reports should be published with anonymized but useful demographic information to improve understanding of super-spreading, super-spreaders, and the settings in which super-spreading happens.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This study was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emergency Preparedness and Response at King’s College London in partnership with the UK Health Security Agency (UK HSA) and collaboration with the University of East Anglia.
Uncontrolled Keywords: coronavirus,super-spreading,heterogeneity of transmission,index cases,heterogeneity of transmission,index cases,super-spreading,epidemiology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2713
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
University of East Anglia Research Groups/Centres > Theme - ClimateUEA
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2023 10:30
Last Modified: 31 May 2023 11:30
DOI: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2023.03.009

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