Study: Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 associated with cruise ship trips: protocol for a systematic review (Version 1). Image Credit: MikhailBerkut / Shutterstock
The droplets can stay in the air for long periods of time and easily cover more than 1 m in distance. Therefore, staying near an infected person is one of the most important risk factors for contracting the disease. This is largely the reason why cruise ships, among other boat trips, are known as hotbeds of transmission, and there have been several well-publicized cases of significant outbreaks. The Diamond Princess had more than 700 cases on board, one of the best known, and nine people have died. In many cases, these ships were quarantined in foreign ports and many people waited months before being repatriated as countries restricted flights.
Researchers from the University of Oxford and the Victor Babes University of Medicine and Pharmacy collaborated to create a plan to provide a comprehensive summary of data on cruise ship epidemics and explore patterns of transmission in sea.
A pre-printed version of the group’s study is available on the website medRxiv* server while the article is subject to peer review.
Researchers plan to search electronic databases for articles regarding COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships, examining as many articles as possible for data on modes of transmission. They will include observational studies, case studies, randomized trials, clinical reports, epidemic reports, experimental studies, and non-predictive models.
All studies that assess transmission factors, such as infectivity of index cases, passenger sensitivity, efficacy of exposure and vaccination status. In the case of multiple studies with the same data, researchers will only include the most complete article. However, if they are equally complete, the higher or newer quality will be chosen.
They will include as many details as possible in their review, including release details, vessel specifications, details of the index cases for each outbreak, whether or not masks were worn, symptoms of those infected, and the conclusion of a transmission, among others.
One author will extract the data, which a second author will verify. In the event of disagreement between the authors, the arbitration will be carried out by a third author. The quality of the studies will be assessed by a QUADAS-2 tool using five domains.
For studies based on transmission, the authors will consider the setting, demographic characteristics and sampling procedures, the strategy for follow-up once the epidemic has been discovered, the success of this strategy, secondary cases, cases demographic and clinical, and any major biases that show threats. to validity. For environmental studies, authors will investigate method descriptions, sample source description, any bias, analysis and reporting, and applicability issues.
Once this review is completed, it could provide valuable information on the transmission of COVID-19 and epidemics in cruise ships in general. The current pandemic is not the only case of massive infections aboard these ships – in fact, in 2017 it was discovered that 97% of the acute gastroenteritis cases recorded in the Americas were aboard ships. cruising, and they have long been known as hotbeds of disease.
Information on the routes of transmission taken and the effectiveness of the response to infection could be essential in discovering methods to prevent new epidemics and provide the best possible care if they do occur. On top of that, constant monitoring and review of scientific articles helps maintain high quality and identify substandard articles published in predatory journals – many of which can be used to present disinformation, which is often observed. in anti-vaccination movements, or in supporting the use of ivermectin.
medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer reviewed and, therefore, should not be considered conclusive, guide clinical practice / health-related behavior, or treated as established information