Household COVID-19 secondary attack rate and associated determinants in Pakistan; A retrospective cohort study

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Background COVID-19 household transmissibility remains unclear in Pakistan. To understand the dynamics of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus disease epidemiology, this study estimated Secondary Attack Rate (SAR) among household and close contacts of index cases in Pakistan using a statistical transmission model. Methodology A retrospective cohort study was conducted using an inclusive contact tracing dataset from the provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to estimate SAR. We considered the probability of an infected person transmitting the infection to close contacts regardless of residential addresses. This means that close contacts were identified irrespective of their relationship with the index case. We assessed demographic determinants of COVID-19 infectivity and transmissibility. For this purpose based on evolving evidence, and as CDC recommends fully vaccinated people get tested 5–7 days after close contact with a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Therefore we followed the same procedure in the close contacts for secondary infection. Findings During the study period from 15th May 2020 to 15th Jan 2021, a total of 339 (33.9%) index cases were studied from 1000 cases initially notified. Among close contact groups (n = 739), households were identified with an assumed mean incubation period of 8.2+4.3 days and a maximum incubation period of 15 days. SAR estimated here is among the household contacts. 117 secondary cases from 739 household contacts, with SAR 11.1% (95% CI 9.0–13.6). All together (240) SAR achieved was 32.48% (95% CI; 29.12–37.87) for symptomatic and confirmed cases. The potential risk factors for SAR identified here included; old age group (>45 years of age), male (gender), household members >5, and residency in urban areas and for index cases high age group. Overall local reproductive number (R) based on the observed household contact frequencies for index/primary cases was 0.9 (95% CI 0.47–1.21) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 1.3 (95% CI 0.73–1.56) in Punjab. Conclusions SAR estimated here was high especially in the second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic in Pakistan. The results highlight the need to adopt rigorous preventive measures to cut the chain of viral transmission and prevent another wave of COVID-19.

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4 April

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