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Mild Symptoms ID'd in COVID-19 Outbreak on Aircraft Carrier

Neutralizing antibodies identified among 59.2 percent of those with antibody responses

WEDNESDAY, June 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- In a sample of young U.S. service members aboard an aircraft carrier, a COVID-19 outbreak was mainly characterized by widespread transmission with relatively mild symptoms and asymptomatic infection, according to research published in the June 9 early-release issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Daniel C. Payne, Ph.D., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the COVID-19 outbreak on the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which arrived at port in Guam in late March 2020. Demographic, epidemiologic, and laboratory findings were reported among a convenience sample of 382 service members serving aboard this aircraft carrier.

The researchers found that in this sample of mostly young, healthy adults with close congregate exposures, the outbreak was mainly characterized by widespread transmission with relatively mild symptoms and asymptomatic infection. The infection rate was lower for service members who reported taking preventive measures than for those who did not report taking these measures (e.g., wearing a face covering, 55.8 versus 80.8 percent; avoiding common areas, 53.8 versus 67.5 percent; and observing social distancing, 54.7 versus 70.0 percent). The majority (59.2 percent) of those with antibody responses had the presence of neutralizing antibodies.

"The findings reinforce the importance of nonpharmaceutical interventions such as wearing a face covering, avoiding common areas, and observing social distancing to lower risk for infection in similar congregate living settings," the authors write.

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