Super-spreading events and contribution to transmission of MERS, SARS, and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)

  • J.A. Al-Tawfiq
    Corresponding author. Address: P.O. Box 76, Room A-428-2, Building 61, Dhahran Health Center, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran 31311, Saudi Arabia. Tel.: +966 13 870 3524; fax: +966 13 870 3790.
    Infectious Disease Unit, Specialty Internal Medicine, Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia

    Department of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

    Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA
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  • A.J. Rodriguez-Morales
    Public Health and Infection Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Tecnologica de Pereira, Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia

    Grupo de Investigación Biomedicina, Faculty of Medicine, Fundación Universitaria Autónoma de Las Américas, Pereira, Risaralda, Colombia
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Published:April 08, 2020DOI:
      There is no clear definition for the term ‘super-spreader’ or ‘super-spreading event’. The World Health Organization refers to a super-spreader as a patient (or an event) that may transmit infection to a larger number of individuals than is usual by one individual (or event). In the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) situation, a super-spreading event was defined as the transmission of SARS to at ≥8 contacts, and other authors defined this as individuals infecting an unusually large number of secondary cases [
      • Shen Z.
      • Ning F.
      • Zhou W.
      • He X.
      • Lin C.
      • Chin D.P.
      • et al.
      Super spreading SARS events, Beijing, 2003.
      • James A.
      • Pitchford J.W.
      • Plank M.J.
      An event-based model of superspreading in epidemics.
      ]. A super-spreading event could merely be defined as an event in which one patient infects far more people than an average patient does, which is estimated by the basic reproduction number (R0).
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