Takashi Wakita Director, National Institute of Infectious Diseases
Recently, in some reports on the new type of coronavirus infectious disease in Hokkaido, there were reports that differed from the facts of the staff members of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (hereinafter referred to as the headquarters).
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Recently, in some reports on the new type of coronavirus infectious disease in Hokkaido, there were reports that differed from the facts of the staff members of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (hereinafter referred to as the headquarters).

1. Assumption: About active epidemiological survey

When an infectious disease spreads, an “active epidemiological survey” will be conducted based on Article 15 of the “Law on Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases”.
"Aggressive epidemiological survey is a survey conducted for various diseases such as infectious diseases by examining the overall picture of the outbreak that has occurred and the characteristics of the disease and using it to prevent infection in the future." (From the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare website).
Active epidemiological surveys are conducted in prefectures, government-designated cities, and special wards, and when urgently necessary to prevent the spread and spread of infectious diseases, the government should conduct epidemiological surveys conducted by prefectures. It is stipulated that the necessary instructions should be given, and that the state itself should conduct active epidemiological investigations. In addition, in order to strengthen and cooperate with the investigation system of local governments, prefectural governments can request the cooperation of other prefectural governments, such as the dispatch of staff, for research.
In order to prevent the rapid spread of this new type of coronavirus infection, the officials of the headquarters and other public organizations cooperate with each other to prevent the spread of the infection.

2. Active Epidemiological Survey by National Institute of Infectious Diseases Staff

To respond to this new type of coronavirus infection, seven staff members of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases and others were dispatched to Hokkaido, under the direction of the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's Task Force Cluster-Countermeasures Group, to actively respond to epidemiological studies. Is engaged in. In this aggressive epidemiological survey, we are working to contain the spread of infection in individual outbreak units (clusters) and to control and converge the infection in the region and the whole country. Specific activities are as follows.
  • If the contact of a person whose infection has been confirmed by the PCR test shows any symptoms, the presence or absence of the infection should be determined by the PCR test
  • Once the infection is confirmed, ask the person's contacts to restrict their behavior to prevent the next transmission.

3. About misunderstanding by some reports

In some reports, staff dispatched to Hokkaido have stated that PCR testing should be "limited to pneumonia patients who need to be hospitalized", and suspected that "testing will not be performed".
However, an active epidemiological study does not mention the need to perform PCR tests on suspected infections in healthcare facilities.
At the headquarters, we conducted interviews with staff,
  • Provided advice on active epidemiological surveys to identify the range of infected individuals through surveys and to respond
  • In the discussion on the test, "From the viewpoint of active epidemiological survey, for tests targeting mild (or asymptomatic)," If there is, and even if it is asymptomatic, then it is necessary to do a PCR test. "
  • "On the other hand, if you have no contact history, the priority of PCR testing will be lower," he said.
is what they said.
The attitudes described by the staff are common in active epidemiological studies aimed at understanding the status of transmission. However, this is not the idea of ​​PCR testing for patients who go to a medical institution due to illness. There is no intention to deny the current government policy, that is, "the doctor can comprehensively test for patients suspected of having a new type of coronavirus infection," and patients who visit medical institutions The staff of the headquarters, which is in charge of conducting an active epidemiological survey, does not have any authority as to whether or not to carry out a PCR test on.
Therefore, we believe that the intention of the staff of the headquarters may have been understood in an incorrect context, and that misconceptions may have spread.

4. For those who cooperate with active epidemiological investigations

We would like to thank the infected people and contacts for their understanding and cooperation in proactive epidemiological investigations in a difficult situation. Thanks to everyone's great cooperation, understanding of new coronavirus infectious disease is progressing. We look forward to your continued cooperation. If you have any concerns, please consult with the health center or returnee / contact consultation center.

5. Requests for the media

In recent news reports, besides the above, the headquarters stated that "we are trying to reduce the number of infected people by reducing the number of tests," and "we refuse to expand the test to make the actual situation invisible" Articles with different content from the facts are scattered.
Such reports not only mistreated the staff of the headquarters and those involved in dealing with powdered bones day and night in emergency situations, but also misleaded the public about the role of the headquarters and demanded a prompt response. It has an adverse effect on coronavirus infection control.
For those involved in the press, the "Law Concerning the Prevention of Infectious Diseases and Medical Care for Patients with Infectious Diseases" and its operation and the role of the headquarters are well understood, and the rapid spread of new coronavirus infections We ask that you cooperate with the prevention.

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