WEDNESDAY, June 30, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Effective strategies have been identified that can interrupt the spread of a novel infectious disease, according to a review published online June 29 in BMJ Open.

Sheng-Chia Chung, Ph.D., from University College London, and colleagues conducted a systematic review of 118 studies on the use of contact tracing, testing, self-isolation, and quarantine for COVID-19 management to learn lessons from countries implementing find, test, trace, isolate, support (FTTIS) in the first wave of the pandemic.

The researchers identified the key elements of an effective FTTIS system needed to interrupt the spread of a novel infectious disease where treatment or vaccination are not yet available. These elements include border controls, restricted entry, quarantine for inbound travelers, and comprehensive case finding. Repeat testing can minimize false diagnoses, and in resource-limited circumstances, pooled testing can be used. Elements also include an extended quarantine period and use of digital tools for contact tracing and self-isolation. For individuals undergoing self-isolation/quarantine, support for mental or physical health and livelihood is needed. Effective FTTIS tools can be best used to respond to the fast-changing COVID-19 pandemic in an integrated system with rolling-wave planning.

“A successful FTTIS requires seamless integration of all the components and the ability to integrate vulnerable populations or ethnic minorities,” the authors write. “Linked health service data can contribute to the cooperation and communications among responsible authorities (central and local government, borders, laboratories, and the medical care system) through real-time data sharing and dashboards.”

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