April 14, 2024

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11 family members sick after sharing house with teen exposed to COVID-19, report finds

A 13-year-old girl may have infected 11 relatives with the coronavirus during a family trip, a new report finds.

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The teenager was exposed to the disease before sharing a house with 13 other family members who didn’t practice social distancing or wear face coverings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in findings released Monday.

Days before the summer trip, the CDC says the teenager got a rapid antigen test, which came back negative.

“The adolescent’s initial antigen test result was likely a false negative because it was performed before symptom onset; the only antigen test that had Food and Drug Administration Emergency Use Authorization at the time was intended for use within the first 5 days of symptoms,” officials said in their report.

The same day the 13-year-old left for the trip, the CDC says she started experiencing her only coronavirus symptom: nasal congestion. Health experts believe she was the source of an outbreak at the ensuing family gathering.

In total, 11 relatives staying with the girl during a three-week period from June to July contracted the virus, according to the CDC.

Six other family members went to the same home without masks but remained outside and kept a 6-foot distance. They didn’t develop coronavirus symptoms, officials say.

In the report, health officials warn COVID-19 “can spread efficiently during gatherings” and encourage people to practice social distancing, wear masks and wash their hands to help stop the risk of getting sick.

The report also says rapid antigen tests, such as the one the teenager took before her trip, are generally less sensitive when compared to another type, lab-processed tests called molecular or RT-PCR. The antigen tests are faster but can miss active infections at a higher rate, The News & Observer previously reported.

“Negative results should be confirmed with RT-PCR if used for persons with high pretest probability of infection, such as those with a known exposure…,” the CDC said. “Regardless of negative test results, persons should self-quarantine for 14 days after a known exposure.”

Though the CDC doesn’t say where the family gathering occurred, officials say the relatives came from five households in four states. The report lists contributions from health departments in Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

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©2020 The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)

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