HOSTED-England's household transmission evaluation dataset: Preliminary findings from a novel passive surveillance system of COVID-19

J. A. Hall, Ross Harris, Asad Zaidi, Sarah Woodhall, Gavin Dabrera, John Dunbar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is an important component of the community spread of the pandemic. Little is known about the factors associated with household transmission, at the level of the case, contact or household, or how these have varied over the course of the pandemic. Methods: The Household Transmission Evaluation Dataset (HOSTED) is a passive surveillance system linking laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases to individuals living in the same household in England. We explored the risk of household transmission according to: age of case and contact, sex, region, deprivation, month and household composition between April and September 2020, building a multivariate model. Results: In the period studied, on average, 5.5% of household contacts in England were diagnosed as cases. Household transmission was most common between adult cases and contacts of a similar age. There was some evidence of lower transmission rates to under-16s [adjusted odds ratios (aOR) 0.70, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.66-0.74). There were clear regional differences, with higher rates of household transmission in the north of England and the Midlands. Less deprived areas had a lower risk of household transmission. After controlling for region, there was no effect of deprivation, but houses of multiple occupancy had lower rates of household transmission [aOR 0.74 (0.66-0.83)]. Conclusions: Children are less likely to acquire SARS-CoV-2 via household transmission, and consequently there was no difference in the risk of transmission in households with children. Households in which cases could isolate effectively, such as houses of multiple occupancy, had lower rates of household transmission. Policies to support the effective isolation of cases from their household contacts could lower the level of household transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-752
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Crown copyright 2021.


  • Household transmission
  • Passive surveillance
  • SARS-CoV-2 COVID-19


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