BACKGROUND: UK asymptomatic contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases are not routinely tested for SARS-CoV-2. Testing contacts may improve case ascertainment and reduce onward transmission. This study investigated the acceptability of SARS-CoV-2 testing among contacts of confirmed cases as an integral part of the contact-tracing process.
METHODS: A cross-sectional descriptive survey of case contacts was conducted in the UK. All contacts who completed a telephone call with the NHS Test and Trace Agile Lighthouse team were eligible for inclusion and were offered a molecular test. Consenting participants were sent a self-swab kit.
RESULTS: Of the 1523 individuals contacted, 602 (39.5%) accepted the test offer. Of the 240 (39.9%) samples returned for testing, 16.3% tested polymerase chain reaction-positive for SARS-CoV-2.Most individuals who declined with a reason (638/905; 70.5%) reported they had already taken or booked a SARS-CoV-2 test, or were part of a testing programme. Matched laboratory records confirmed 73.1% of those who declined were tested by another route.
CONCLUSIONS: Most case contacts were tested, either through arranging a test by themselves or by accepting the study offer. Results demonstrate high acceptability, with substantial test positivity, indicating that there is public health benefit in offering tests to contacts as a routine part of the contact-tracing process.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information: This work was funded by Public Health England.
Open Access: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/),
which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Copyright: © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Faculty of Public Health.
Citation: E Marchant, D Ready, G Wimbury, R Smithson, A Charlett, I Oliver, Determining the acceptability of testing contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases to improve secondary case ascertainment, Journal of Public Health, Volume 43, Issue 3, September 2021, Pages e446–e452,
- communicable diseases
- health protection