Although SARS-CoV-2 surface contamination has been investigated in health care settings, little is known about the SARS-CoV-2 surface contamination in public urban areas, particularly in tropical countries. Here, we investigated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on high-touch surfaces in a large city in Brazil, one the most affected countries by the COVID-19 pandemic in the world. A total of 400 surface samples were collected in February 2021 in the City of Recife, Northeastern Brazil. A total of 97 samples (24.2%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-qPCR using the CDC-USA protocol. All the collection sites, except one (18/19, 94.7%) had at least one environmental surface sample contaminated. SARS-CoV-2 positivity was higher in public transport terminals (47/84, 55.9%), followed by health care units (26/84, 30.9%), beach areas (4/21, 19.0%), public parks (14/105, 13.3%), supply center (2/21, 9.5%), and public markets (4/85, 4.7%). Toilets, ATMs, handrails, playground, and outdoor gym were identified as fomites with the highest rates of SARS-CoV-2 detection. Taken together, our data provide a real-world picture of SARS-CoV-2 dispersion in highly populated tropical areas and identified critical control points that need to be targeted to break SARS-CoV-2 transmission chains.


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da Silva, S., Nascimento, J., Santos Reis, W., Silva, C., Silva, P., Mendes, R., Mendonça, A., Santos, B., Magalhães, J., Kohl, A. & Pena, L. 2021, 'Widespread contamination of SARS‐CoV-2 on highly touched surfaces in Brazil during the second wave of the COVID ‐19 pandemic', Environmental Microbiology, 23(12), pp. 7382-7395. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.15855

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Last updated: 16 June 2022
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