Review

Transmission of respiratory viruses when using public ground transport: A rapid review to inform public health recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic

J Zhen, C Chan, A Schoonees, E Apatu, L Thabane, T Young

Abstract


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous countries worldwide declared national states of emergency and implemented interventions to minimise the risk of transmission among the public. Evidence was needed to inform strategies for limiting COVID-19 transmission on public transport. On 20 March 2020, we searched MEDLINE, CENTRAL, Web of Science and the World Health Organization’s database of ‘Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)’ to conduct a rapid review on interventions that reduce viral transmission on public ground transport. After screening 74 records, we identified 4 eligible studies. These studies suggest an increased risk of viral transmission with public transportation use that may be reduced with improved ventilation. International and national guidelines suggest the following strategies: keep the public informed, stay at home when sick, and minimise public transport use. Where use is unavoidable, environmental control, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene are recommended, while a risk-based approach needs to guide the use of non-medical masks.


Authors' affiliations

J Zhen, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

C Chan, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

A Schoonees, Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

E Apatu, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

L Thabane, Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

T Young, Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa

Full Text

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Keywords

Viral diseases; Influenza; Outbreak; Flu; Coronavirus; COVID-19; Respiratory virus; Public transport; Prevention; Intervention; Risk reduction; Transmission; Infection; Virus

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(6):478-483.

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-05-07
Date published: 2020-05-07

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