Air conditioner may have caused spread of coronavirus to three families at China restaurant, finds study

A study in China has suggested that the deadly coronavirus may have spread among people at a restaurant due to its air conditioning.

FP Trending April 15, 2020 20:56:15 IST
Air conditioner may have caused spread of coronavirus to three families at China restaurant, finds study

A study in China has suggested that the deadly coronavirus may have spread among people at a restaurant due to its air conditioning.

The study was published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Researchers examined 10 coronavirus patients from three families who had visited the same restaurant in China’s Guangzhou for dinner.

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Representational image. Image by HenkieTenk from Pixabay.

One of the families had just travelled from Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus in China.

The three families dined at the restaurant while sitting at neighbouring tables on 24 January. Later that day, a person of the family that had come from Wuhan experienced fever and cough and went to hospital, the study said.

By 5 February, nine people had contracted novel coronavirus – all from families that had eaten at the restaurant.

The researchers found that the only source of exposure for all the infected people was the affected person of the Wuhan family.

Study authors suggested that the virus might have transmitted from the infected person to members of the other two families and later family transmission must have taken place.

Researchers attributed the outbreak of the disease to droplet transmission. However, they added that droplet transmission could not alone have had led to the outbreak as larger respiratory droplets remain in the air for only a short time and travel only short distances (less than 1 metre).

The distance between the infected person and members of the two families was greater than one meter.

The study added that virus-laden small aerosolized droplets can remain in the air and travel longer distances, which could have been facilitated due to the direction of the airflow.

The study authors concluded that in this outbreak, droplet transmission was prompted by air-conditioned ventilation.

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