By NewsDesk @infectiousdiseasenews
The Swedish Public Health Authority, along with an expert working group, produced a guide for how freedom of infection can be assessed.
Knowledge of infectiousness at COVID-19 is still limited, but several studies indicate that it is greatest in connection with the disease and the beginning of the disease course. The test method – called PCR technology – used to see if a person has viruses in the body cannot distinguish between active and inactive virus. An active virus can still infect cells and thus infect other people, but an inactive virus has been rendered harmless by the immune system and no longer infects. Therefore, this type of test cannot be used to determine whether a person who has previously tested positive for COVID-19 remains contagious or not. That assessment may instead be based on clinical criteria (signs of recovery) and the time elapsed from the illness.
The national criteria for freedom of infection at COVID-19 have been developed by a working group consisting of representatives from the Swedish Society for Infectious Medicine, the Association for Clinical Microbiology, the Swedish Hygiene Medical Association, the Swedish Infectious Diseases Association and the Public Health Authority. They will be updated as new knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 is added.
This is what the criteria for freedom of infection with COVID-19 are:
- Persons with established COVID-19 who remain isolated in the home can be assessed as infectious after at least two days of fever freedom and general improvement, when at least seven days have passed since the illness.
- The same time limits apply to care and care personnel with suspected or established COVID-19, with the addition that they should always be tested in case of suspicion.
- Symptom-free persons should generally not be tested, but if it has nevertheless been done, they can be assessed as infection-free only seven days after a positive test. Should they develop symptoms after the sampling, one must count from the day of illness. If they have recently had symptoms compatible with COVID-19, you can count from that day of illness.
- In special housing for the elderly, as well as short-term care and environments with particularly sensitive individuals, reference is made with reference to the precautionary principle, the time limit of at least 2 days of fever freedom and stable improvement and 14 days after illness.
- For hospitalized people who have had a more severe illness, the criteria are at least 2 days of fever freedom with stable clinical improvement and at least 14 days from the day of illness, up to 21 days for the very sickest who also needed care in the intensive care unit.
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