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A Cluster of Health Care Workers With COVID-19 Pneumonia Caused by SARS-CoV-2

Background: The current outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Wuhan, Hubei, China, spreads across national and international borders.

Methods: We prospectively collected medical records of 14 health care workers (HCWs) who were infected with SARS-CoV-2, in neurosurgery department of Wuhan Union Hospital, China.

Results: Among the 14 HCWs, 12 were conformed cases, the other 2 were suspected cases. Most of them were either exposed to the two index patients or infected coworkers, without knowing they were COVID-19 patients. There were 4 male and 10 female infected HCWs in this cohort, whose mean age was 36 years (SD, 6 years). The main symptoms included myalgia or fatigue (100%), fever (86%) and dry cough (71%). On admission, 79% of infected HCWs showed leucopenia and 43% lymphopenia. Reduced complement C3 could be seen in 57% of the infected HCWs and IL-6 was significantly elevated in 86% of them. The proportion of lymphocytes subsets, concentrations of immunoglobulins, complement C4, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, TNF-α and IFN-γ were within normal range in these 14 infected HCWs. The most frequent findings on pulmonary computed tomographic images were bilateral multifocal ground-glass opacifications (86%).

Conclusions: Human-to-human transmission of COVID-19 pneumonia has occurred among HCWs, and most of these infected HCWs with confirmed COVID-19 are mild cases. Our data suggest that in the epidemic area of COVID-19, stringent and urgent surveillance and infection-control measures should be implemented to protect doctors and nurses from COVID-19 infection.


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