Study on Corona onset in the case of Tönnies: Transmission of the Virus occurs over a large distance

In a joint study by the Helmholtz centre (HZI), the University clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) and the Heinrich-Pette-Institute, the origins of the first Coronavirus outbreak were examined in may 2020 in the meat factory Tönnies in Rheda-Wiedenbrück.

The results reconstruct the triggering transmission of events of the outbreak in the meat factory toennies: on the basis of a single employee, the Virus was transmitted to several people in a radius of more than eight meters. The main Transfer took place in the cutting area for Cattle, in which the air is circulated and ten degrees Celsius is cooled. In contrast, the living situation of the workers played during the studied Phase of the eruption, no significant role.

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“Our study sheds light on SARS-CoV-2 infections in a work area in which various factors converge to enable a Transmission over relatively long distances. It is the important question of the conditions under which the transmission events over longer distances in other areas of life are possible now,“ said Melanie Brinkmann, a Professor at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany and research group leader at the HZI.

Conditions in the meat factory, promote the spread of the Virus

“Our results indicate that the conditions of the cutting operation, so the low temperature, low fresh air supply and a constant air circulation through the air-conditioning in the hall, together with a strenuous physical work – the aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2-particles over greater distances encouraged,” says Professor Adam Grundhoff, co-author of the study and head of the research group at HPI.

“It is very likely that these factors play in General, plants play a decisive role in the world’s occurring outbreaks in meat or fish processing. Under these conditions, a spacing of 1.5 to 3 meters alone is clearly not sufficient to prevent Transmission.“

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