A new study turns a spotlight on the possible risk of hospital-related transmissions of the Wuhan coronavirus.
The study, published in the medical journal JAMA today, involved analyzing data on 138 patients hospitalized with novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia in Wuhan, China. The data showed that hospital-related transmissions of the virus were suspected in about 41% of the patients.
Specifically, 40 health care workers in the study and 17 patients who were already hospitalized for other reasons were presumed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus in the hospital, the data showed, also revealing that 26% of all the patients were admitted to an intensive care unit and 4.3% died.
The researchers noted that the new study, to their knowledge, might be the largest case series to date of hospitalized patients with novel coronavirus-infected pneumonia — but the study had some limitations.
Hospital-related transmissions of infections "could not be definitively proven but was suspected and presumed based on timing and patterns of exposure to infected patients and subsequent development of infection,” the researchers wrote in the study.
Among the 138 cases, "most patients are still hospitalized at the time of manuscript submission. Therefore, it is difficult to assess risk factors for poor outcome, and continued observations of the natural history of the disease are needed,” they wrote.