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Field and Molecular Epidemiology: How Viral Sequencing Changed Transmission Inferences in the First Portuguese SARS-CoV-2 Infection Cluster

Published: 10 June 2021
 by  MDPI AG
 in Viruses
Viruses , Volume 13; doi:10.3390/v13061116

Abstract: Field epidemiology and viral sequencing provide a comprehensive characterization of transmission chains and allow a better identification of superspreading events. However, very few examples have been presented to date during the COVID-19 pandemic. We studied the first COVID-19 cluster detected in Portugal (59 individuals involved amongst extended family and work environments), following the return of four related individuals from work trips to Italy. The first patient to introduce the virus would be misidentified following the traditional field inquiry alone, as shown by the viral sequencing in isolates from 23 individuals. The results also pointed out family, and not work environment, as the primary mode of transmission.
Keywords: COVID-19 / infection cluster / viral sequencing / epidemiological survey / family versus work environment

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