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Number of COVID-19-Infected Cruise Ship Passengers Underestimated

Of passengers and crew members testing positive, 80 percent were asymptomatic

MONDAY, June 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of COVID-19-positive passengers and crew on one cruise ship were asymptomatic, according to a study published online May 27 in Thorax.

Alvin J. Ing, M.D., from Macquarie University in Sydney, and colleagues conducted COVID-19 testing of all 217 passengers and crew on an isolated cruise ship during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

The researchers found that 128 passengers and crew (59 percent) tested positive for COVID-19 based on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing. Of those testing positive, 19 percent were symptomatic, with 6.2 percent requiring medical evacuation and 3.1 percent requiring intubation and ventilation. Mortality was 0.8 percent.

"The prevalence of COVID-19 on affected cruise ships is likely to be significantly underestimated, and strategies are needed to assess and monitor all passengers to prevent community transmission after disembarkation," the authors write.

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