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Meyers KJ, Dillman B, Williams C, Jiang J, Clifford N, Miller JL, Jones ME, Goetz IA, Botros FT, Knorr J, Manner DH, Woodward B. Follow-up of SARS-CoV-2 positive subgroup from the Asymptomatic novel CORonavirus iNFection study. J Med Virol. 2021 Jan 19. doi: 10.1002/jmv.26810. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33463731.

A nested longitudinal study within theAsymptomatic novel CORonavirus iNFfection study followed participants with positive nasopharyngeal swab to query for development of symptoms and assess duration of positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results. Of the 91 participants initially testing positive, 86 participated in follow-up approximately 14 days after study enrollment; of those 86 participants, 19 (22.1%) developed at least one symptom at any time after the initial positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) test result. The median number of days to symptom development after their initial positive test result was 6 (range 1-29 days). No participants reported a SARS-CoV-2-related hospitalization. The most frequently reported symptoms were fatigue or muscle aches (10.5%), headache (9.3%), fever (5.8%), and shortness of breath (5.8%). Of the 78 participants who submitted a nasopharyngeal swab for repeat RT-PCR testing, 17 (21.8%) remained positive at Day 14, 4 of which continued to test positive at Day 28. These findings reinforce the probable role of silent SARS-CoV-2 infections in community transmission, and that reliance on symptom development will miss a large proportion of infections. Broad testing programs not limited to individuals presenting with symptoms are critical for identifying persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection and ultimately slowing transmission.

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