Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 considering shared chairs in outpatient dialysis: a real-world case-control study.
Background: SARS-CoV-2 can remain transiently viable on surfaces. We examined if use of shared chairs in outpatient hemodialysis associates with a risk for indirect patient-to-patient transmission of SARS-CoV-2.
Methods: We used data from adults treated at 2,600 hemodialysis facilities in United States between February 1st and June 8th, 2020. We performed a retrospective case-control study matching each SARS-CoV-2 positive patient (case) to a non-SARS-CoV-2 patient (control) treated in the same dialysis shift. Cases and controls were matched on age, sex, race, facility, shift date, and treatment count. For each case-control pair, we traced backward 14 days to assess possible prior exposure from a 'shedding' SARS-CoV-2 positive patient who sat in the same chair immediately before the case or control. Conditional logistic regression models tested whether chair exposure after a shedding SARS-CoV-2 positive patient conferred a higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection to the immediate subsequent patient.
Results: Among 170,234 hemodialysis patients, 4,782 (2.8 %) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (mean age 64 years, 44 % female). Most facilities (68.5 %) had 0 to 1 positive SARS-CoV-2 patient. We matched 2,379 SARS-CoV-2 positive cases to 2,379 non-SARS-CoV-2 controls; 1.30 % (95 %CI 0.90 %, 1.87 %) of cases and 1.39 % (95 %CI 0.97 %, 1.97 %) of controls were exposed to a chair previously sat in by a shedding SARS-CoV-2 patient. Transmission risk among cases was not significantly different from controls (OR = 0.94; 95 %CI 0.57 to 1.54; p = 0.80). Results remained consistent in adjusted and sensitivity analyses.
Conclusions: The risk of indirect patient-to-patient transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection from dialysis chairs appears to be low.
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