Integrated genomic surveillance enables tracing of person-to-person SARS-CoV-2 transmission chains during community transmission and reveals extensive onward transmission of travel-imported infections, Germany, June to July 2021

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung


  • German COVID-19 OMICS Initiative (DeCOI) - (Autor:in)


Background: Tracking person-to-person SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the population is important to understand the epidemiology of community transmission and may contribute to the containment of SARS-CoV-2. Neither contact tracing nor genomic surveillance alone, however, are typically sufficient to achieve this objective. Aim: We demonstrate the successful application of the integrated genomic surveillance (IGS) system of the German city of Düsseldorf for tracing SARS-CoV-2 transmission chains in the population as well as detecting and investigating travel-associated SARS-CoV-2 infection clusters. Methods: Genomic surveillance, phylogenetic analysis, and structured case interviews were integrated to elucidate two genetically defined clusters of SARS-CoV-2 isolates detected by IGS in Düsseldorf in July 2021. Results: Cluster 1 (n=67 Düsseldorf cases) and Cluster 2 (n=36) were detected in a surveillance dataset of 518 high-quality SARS-CoV-2 genomes from Düsseldorf (53% of total cases, sampled mid-June to July 2021). Cluster 1 could be traced back to a complex pattern of transmission in nightlife venues following a putative importation by a SARS-CoV-2-infected return traveller (IP) in late June; 28 SARS-CoV-2 cases could be epidemiologically directly linked to IP. Supported by viral genome data from Spain, Cluster 2 was shown to represent multiple independent introduction events of a viral strain circulating in Catalonia and other European countries, followed by diffuse community transmission in Düsseldorf. Conclusion: IGS enabled high-resolution tracing of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in an internationally connected city during community transmission and provided infection chain-level evidence of the downstream propagation of travel-imported SARS-CoV-2 cases.


PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 27 Okt. 2022

Externe IDs

PubMed 36305336
ORCID /0000-0002-8704-4713/work/141544379