Science

Watch | What is contact tracing?

A video explaining contact tracing

An integral part of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic is to find out how the virus is transmitted. Contact tracing and follow-up health interventions can ensure limited spread of the infection.

It can also stop the pace of the pandemic before the third stage which is community transmission.


COVID-19 | Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India


What is contact tracing?

It is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent transmission.

People who may have been exposed to the virus from affected countries are to be traced and monitored for 28 days.


Also read: Coronavirus | How does soap use help in tackling COVID-19?


Who is a contact?

Any person who had contact with patients under treatment for suspected, probable or confirmed case of coronavirus.

Any person who provided care for the patient suspected or confirmed with the disease, including a health care worker or family member. 


How are contacts traced?

Contact tracing must take place as soon as the virus is detected in a person.

It must be aggressively implemented and would be ideal if it is completed within 48 hours.

It is done either by visiting the residence of the contact or through phone calls by the health services team.

It involves identifying the social networks of the first patient and their travel history after the onset of illness. 

The patient’s family members, colleagues, school or college mates are sources of information about the contacts.

Case-wise listing of all exposed contacts is maintained. The listing contains demographic information, date of last exposure with the case patient, and date of onset of fever or other symptoms, if any.

Contacts found through this process of tracing can be of two types - symptomatic and asymptomatic.

A person with a symptomatic contact has fever, cough and a history of contact with a confirmed case. He/she is then referred for isolation for strict infection control.

Samples are collected and sent to the designated laboratory for testing.

Whereas, asymptomatic contacts are the those who had been in contact with a confirmed case, but don’t display any signs or symptoms.

They are advised to remain at home for at least 28 days after the last exposure with the patient. The contacts are asked to start monitoring their health and watch for symptoms.

Health workers are also requested to follow precautionary measures while they meet contacts.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Related Topics
Recommended for you

Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 12:53:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/what-is-contact-tracing/article31122416.ece

Next Story