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SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk from asymptomatic carriers: Results from a mass screening programme in Luxembourg.

Wilmes, P and Zimmer, J and Schulz, J and Glod, F and Veiber, L and Mombaerts, L and Rodrigues, B and Aalto, A and Pastore, J and Snoeck, CJ and Ollert, M and Fagherazzi, G and Mossong, J and Goncalves, J and Skupin, A and Nehrbass, U (2021) SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk from asymptomatic carriers: Results from a mass screening programme in Luxembourg. Lancet Reg Health Eur, 4. 100056-.

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Background: To accompany the lifting of COVID-19 lockdown measures, Luxembourg implemented a mass screening (MS) programme. The first phase coincided with an early summer epidemic wave in 2020. Methods: rRT-PCR-based screening for SARS-CoV-2 was performed by pooling of samples. The infrastructure allowed the testing of the entire resident and cross-border worker populations. The strategy relied on social connectivity within different activity sectors. Invitation frequencies were tactically increased in sectors and regions with higher prevalence. The results were analysed alongside contact tracing data. Findings: The voluntary programme covered 49% of the resident and 22% of the cross-border worker populations. It identified 850 index cases with an additional 249 cases from contact tracing. Over-representation was observed in the services, hospitality and construction sectors alongside regional differences. Asymptomatic cases had a significant but lower secondary attack rate when compared to symptomatic individuals. Based on simulations using an agent-based SEIR model, the total number of expected cases would have been 42·9% (90% CI [-0·3, 96·7]) higher without MS. Mandatory participation would have resulted in a further difference of 39·7% [19·6, 59·2]. Interpretation: Strategic and tactical MS allows the suppression of epidemic dynamics. Asymptomatic carriers represent a significant risk for transmission. Containment of future outbreaks will depend on early testing in sectors and regions. Higher participation rates must be assured through targeted incentivisation and recurrent invitation. Funding: This project was funded by the Luxembourg Ministries of Higher Education and Research, and Health.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Asymptomatic COVID-19 Contact tracing Mass screening SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR
Divisions: Div F > Control
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2021 21:04
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 02:00
DOI: 10.1016/j.lanepe.2021.100056