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Contact Tracing, Testing, and Control of COVID-19—Learning From Taiwan

Educational Objective
To understand the steps Taiwan took to control the COVID-19 outbreak
1 Credit CME

Taiwan is a country of about 24 million people, 81 miles off the coast of mainland China. As of late April 2020, Taiwan had about 330 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and 6 deaths. By comparison, the US had about 1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 60 000 deaths.

In this issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, there is a remarkable report from Taiwan on the use of contact tracing and virologic polymerase chain reaction testing to assess the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in the country’s initial 100 confirmed cases.1 Among 2761 close contacts of the 100 cases, confirmed between January 15 and March 18, 2020, Cheng et al report that there were 22 paired-index secondary cases and an overall secondary clinical attack rate of 0.7% (95% CI, 0.4%-1.0%).1

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Article Information

Published Online: May 1, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2072

Corresponding Author: Robert Steinbrook, MD, JAMA Internal Medicine, Editorial Office, University of California, San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Ave, Ste M1180, PO Box 0124, San Francisco, CA 94143-0124 (robertsteinbrook@gmail.com).

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

References
1.
Cheng  H-Y , Jian  S-W , Liu  D-P , Ng  T-C , Huang  W-T , Lin  H-H ; Taiwan COVID-19 Outbreak Investigation Team.  Contact tracing assessment of COVID-19 transmission dynamics in Taiwan and risk at different exposure periods before and after symptom onset.   JAMA Intern Med. Published online May 1, 2020 doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2020.2020Google Scholar
2.
Wang  CJ , Ng  CY , Brook  RH .  Response to COVID-19 in Taiwan.   JAMA. 2020;323(14):1341-1342. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.3151PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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