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Household transmission dynamics of seasonal human coronaviruses

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Talia M Quandelacy
  • Matt D T Hitchings
  • Justin Lessler
  • Jonathan M Read
  • Charles Vukotich
  • Andrew S Azman
  • Henrik Salje
  • Shanta Zimmer
  • Hongjiang Gao
  • Yenlik Zheteyeva
  • Amra Uzicanin
  • Derek A T Cummings
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/05/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>The Journal of infectious diseases
Issue number9
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1104-1112
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date9/11/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background Household transmission studies inform how viruses spread among close contacts, but few characterize household transmission of endemic coronaviruses. Methods We used data collected from 223 households with school-age children participating in weekly disease surveillance over 2 respiratory virus seasons (December 2015 to May 2017), to describe clinical characteristics of endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV-229E, HcoV-HKU1, HcoV-NL63, HcoV-OC43) infections, and community and household transmission probabilities using a chain-binomial model correcting for missing data from untested households. Results Among 947 participants in 223 households, we observed 121 infections during the study, most commonly subtype HCoV-OC43. Higher proportions of infected children (&lt;19 years) displayed influenza-like illness symptoms than infected adults (relative risk, 3.0; 95% credible interval [CrI], 1.5–6.9). The estimated weekly household transmission probability was 9% (95% CrI, 6–13) and weekly community acquisition probability was 7% (95% CrI, 5–10). We found no evidence for differences in community or household transmission probabilities by age or symptom status. Simulations suggest that our study was underpowered to detect such differences. Conclusions Our study highlights the need for large household studies to inform household transmission, the challenges in estimating household transmission probabilities from asymptomatic individuals, and implications for controlling endemic CoVs.