• Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection in Havana, Cuba, March–June 2020: Epidemiological Implications Original Research

    Cruz-Rodríguez, Elba; Baldoquín-Rodríguez, Waldemar; Molina-Águila, Niurka; Galindo-Santana, Belkys M.; Romero-Placeres, Manuel; González-Gross, Tania M.; Morgado-Vega, Isabela; Olivera-Nodarse, Yadira; Guzmán, María G.

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract INTRODUCTION The percentage of asymptomatic COVID-19 cases worldwide is estimated at 18–50%; 53% in Cuba specifically, and 58% in Havana, the Cuban capital and the 2020 epicenter of the country’s COVID-19 epidemic. These figures, however, do not represent the transmission capacity or behavior of asymptomatic cases. Understanding asymptomatic transmission’s contribution to SARS-CoV-2 spread is of great importance to disease control and prevention. OBJECTIVE Identify the epidemiological implications of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in Havana, Cuba, during the first wave of the epidemic in 2020. METHODS We carried out a cross-sectional study of all confirmed COVID-19 cases diagnosed in Havana, Cuba, from March 16 through June 30, 2020. The information was obtained through review of the standardized form for investigation of suspected and confirmed cases. Examined variables included age, sex, occupation, case type and source of infection. Cases were divided into asymptomatic and symptomatic groups, and transmission was characterized through the creation of a contact matrix. Analysis was carried out in Epidat and R. RESULTS We studied 1287 confirmed cases, of which 57.7% (743) were asymptomatic, and 42.3% (544) were symptomatic. Symptomatic presentation was the most common for both imported and introduced cases, while asymptomatic presentation was more common in autochthonic cases and infections from an undetermined source. Asymptomatic infection was more common in groups aged <20 and 20–59 years, while symptomatic infection was more common in those aged >60 years. In the contact matrix, 34.6% of cases (445/1287) were not tied to other cases, and 65.4% (842/1287) were infectious–infected dyads, with symptomatic–symptomatic being the most common combination. The majority of primary cases (78.5%; 1002/1276) did not generate secondary cases, and 85.6% (658/743) of asymptomatic cases did not lead to other cases (although one asymptomatic superspreader led to 90 cases in a single event). However, 63.2% (344/544) of symptomatic primary cases generated secondary cases, and 11 symptomatic superspreaders spawned 100 secondary cases in different events. CONCLUSIONS Asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection was the most common form of COVID-19 in Havana during the study period, but its capacity for contagion was lower than that of symptomatic individuals. Superspreader events under specific conditions played an important role in sustaining the epidemic.
  • Cerebral Hemodynamic Reserve Abnormalities Detected Via Transcranial Doppler Ultrasound in Recovered COVID-19 Patients Original Research

    Abdo-Cuza, Anselmo A.; Hall-Smith, Charles; Suárez-López, Juliette; Castellanos-Gutiérrez, Roberto; Blanco-González, Miguel A; Machado-Martínez, Rafael; Pi-Ávila, Jonathan; Gómez-Peire, Francisco; Espinosa-Nodarse, Namibia; López-González, Juan C.

    Abstract in English:

    Abstract INTRODUCTIONSARS-CoV-2 infection can produce endothelial injury and microvascular damage, one cause of the multiorgan failure associated with COVID-19. Cerebrovascular endothelial damage increases the risk of stroke in COVID-19 patients, which makes prompt diagnosis important. Endothelial dysfunction can be evaluated by using transcranial Doppler ultrasound to study cerebral hemodynamic reserve, but there are few of these studies in patients with COVID-19, and the technique is not included in COVID-19 action and follow-up guidelines nationally or internationally. OBJECTIVEEstimate baseline cerebral hemodynamic patterns, cerebral hemodynamic reserve, and breath-holding index in recovered COVID-19 patients. METHODWe conducted an exploratory study in 51 people; 27 men and 24 women 20–78 years of age, divided into two groups. One group comprised 25 recovered COVID-19 patients, following clinical and epidemiological discharge, who suffered differing degrees of disease severity, and who had no neurological symptoms or disease at the time they were incorporated into the study. The second group comprised 26 people who had not been diagnosed with COVID-19 and who tested negative by RT-PCR at the time of study enrollment. Recovered patients were further divided into two groups: those who had been asymptomatic or had mild disease, and those who had severe or critical disease. We performed transcranial Doppler ultrasounds to obtain baseline and post-apnea tests of cerebral hemodynamic patterns to evaluate cerebral hemodynamic reserve and breath-holding indices. We characterized the recovered patient group and the control group through simple descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations). RESULTSThere were no measurable differences in baseline cerebral hemodynamics between the groups. However, cerebral hemodynamic reserve and breath-holding index were lower in those who had COVID-19 than among control participants (19.9% vs. 36.8% and 0.7 vs. 1.2 respectively). These variables were similar for patients who had asymptomatic or mild disease (19.9% vs.19.8%) and for those who had severe or critical disease (0.7 vs. 0.7). CONCLUSIONSPatients recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection showed decreased cerebral hemodynamic reserve and breath-holding index regardless of the disease’s clinical severity or presence of neurological symptoms. These abnormalities may be associated with endothelial damage caused by COVID-19. It would be useful to include transcranial Doppler ultrasound in evaluation and follow-up protocols for patients with COVID-19.
Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba Oakland - California - United States
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