Detection of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 RNA on Surfaces in Quarantine Rooms

Fa-Chun Jiang; Xiao-Lin Jiang; Zhao-Guo Wang; Zhao-Hai Meng; Shou-Feng Shao; Benjamin D. Anderson; Mai-Juan Ma


Emerging Infectious Diseases. 2020;26(9):2162-2164. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


We investigated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) environmental contamination in 2 rooms of a quarantine hotel after 2 presymptomatic persons who stayed there were laboratory-confirmed as having coronavirus disease. We detected SARS-CoV-2 RNA on 8 (36%) of 22 surfaces, as well as on the pillow cover, sheet, and duvet cover.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rapidly spread globally and, as of May 2, 2020, had caused >3 million confirmed coronavirus disease cases.[1] Although SARS-CoV-2 transmission through respiratory droplets and direct contact is clear, the potential for transmission through contact with surfaces or objects contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 is poorly understood.[2] The virus can be detected on various surfaces in the contaminated environment from symptomatic and paucisymptomatic patients.[3,4] Moreover, we recently reported detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on environmental surfaces of a symptomatic patient's household.[5] Because SARS-CoV-2 remains viable and infectious from hours to days on surfaces,[6,7] contact with a contaminated surface potentially could be a medium for virus transmission. In addition, high viral load in throat swab specimens at symptom onset[8,9] and peak infectiousness at 0–2 days for presymptomatic patients[8] suggest that presymptomatic patients may easily contaminate the environment. However, data are limited on environmental contamination of SARS-CoV-2 by patients who may be presymptomatic. Therefore, to test this hypothesis, we examined the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in collected environmental surface swab specimens from 2 rooms of a centralized quarantine hotel where 2 presymptomatic patients had stayed.