Healthcare workers acquired COVID-19 disease from patients? An investigation by phylogenomics

R. C.W. Wong, M. K.P. Lee, G. K.H. Siu, L. K. Lee, J. S.L. Leung, E. C.M. Leung, Y. I.I. Ho, R. W.M. Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing number of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases in the community has posed a significant epidemic pressure on healthcare settings. When healthcare workers (HCWs) acquire COVID-19, contact tracing and epidemiological investigation might not be adequate for determining the source of transmission. Here, we report a phylogenetic investigation involving two infected HCWs and nine patients to determine whether patient-to-HCW transmission had occurred in a hospital without a previous COVID-19 outbreak. This is the first study to apply phylogenomics to investigate suspected nosocomial transmission in a region with low prevalence of COVID-19. Our results do not support the occurrence of direct patient-to-HCW transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-63
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Jul 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Epidemiology
  • Healthcare workers
  • Phylogenomics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Whole-genome sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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