Covid-19: who are the “super contaminators” responsible for the spread of the epidemic

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Regular hand washing, wearing a mask, social distancing, use of hydroalcoholic gel: the barrier measures put in place for a few months have made it possible to limit the spread of Covid-19, but the number of infected continues to increase …

While some people appear not to be very contagious, there are “super contaminators” capable of transmitting the virus much more easily than others.

Several studies have already sought to assess the extent of contamination of the various viruses that may have circulated, such as the Spanish flu.

Super contaminators: who are they?

London specialists recently analyzed the variations in the transmission of the Covid-19 virus between individuals. They observed that the risks of contamination varied greatly from one person to another, and that “80% of secondary transmissions may have been caused by a small fraction of infectious individuals”. They also claim that not all symptomatic cases are necessarily contagious, as has already been demonstrated with the appearance of previous viruses.

Super contaminators could represent around 10% of those infected, according to this work.

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Akira Endo and her team believe that this discovery could help limit the scale of the pandemic: “Since most infected individuals do not contribute to the spread of an epidemic, the actual number of infections could be significantly reduced by preventing relatively rare super spread events.”, they explain in this study relayed by the platform Wellcome Open Research.

Limiting large events, where many people are likely to come into contact with and be exposed to a tiny fraction of the so-called “super contaminator”, could significantly reduce the increase in the number of new cases.

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