Identifying determinants of heterogeneous transmission dynamics of the middle east respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreak in the Republic of Korea, 2015: A Retrospective epidemiological analysis

Hiroshi Nishiura, Akira Endo, Masaya Saitoh, Ryo Kinoshita, Ryo Ueno, Shinji Nakaoka, Yuichiro Miyamatsu, Yueping Dong, Gerardo Chowell, Kenji Mizumoto

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Objectives: To investigate the heterogeneous transmission patterns of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in the Republic of Korea, with a particular focus on epidemiological characteristics of superspreaders. Design: Retrospective epidemiological analysis. Setting: Multiple healthcare facilities of secondary and tertiary care centres in an urban setting. Participants: A total of 185 laboratory-confirmed cases with partially known dates of illness onset and most likely sources of infection. Primary and secondary outcome measures: Superspreaders were identified using the transmission tree. The reproduction number, that is, the average number of secondary cases produced by a single primary case, was estimated as a function of time and according to different types of hosts. Results: A total of five superspreaders were identified. The reproduction number throughout the course of the outbreak was estimated at 1.0 due to reconstruction of the transmission tree, while the variance of secondary cases generated by a primary case was 52.1. All of the superspreaders involved in this outbreak appeared to have generated a substantial number of contacts in multiple healthcare facilities (association: p

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere009936
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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