Peng Wu

Peng Wu
The University of Hong Kong | HKU · School of Public Health

PhD
Projects on antimicrobial resistance, COVID-19, influenza (seasonal and avian influenza), RSV

About

183
Publications
41,943
Reads
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26,152
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Introduction
My research area is infectious disease epidemiology, involving investigation of the disease burden and transmission dynamics of infectious diseases, and using knowledge of underlying mechanisms to optimize the use of control measures. I have been working on studies on antimicrobial resistance, COVID-19, influenza (seasonal and avian influenza), RSV, hand, foot and mouth disease as well as other emerging respiratory infections.
Additional affiliations
January 2006 - present
The University of Hong Kong

Publications

Publications (183)
Preprint
Background Hong Kong has enforced stringent travel restrictions particularly for inbound travellers since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2. Understanding the characteristics of imported COVID-19 cases is important for establishing evidence-based control measures. Methods We conducted a retrospective cohort study to summarise the characteristics of case...
Preprint
Background The generation time distribution, reflecting the time between successive infections in transmission chains, is one of the fundamental epidemiological parameters for describing COVID-19 transmission dynamics. However, because exact infection times are rarely known, it is often approximated by the serial interval distribution, reflecting t...
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Our analysis of data collected from multiple epidemics in Hong Kong indicated a shorter serial interval and generation time of infections with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. The age-specific case-fatality risk for Omicron BA.2.2 case-patients without complete primary vaccination was comparable to that of persons infected with ancestral strains in...
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Superspreading, or overdispersion in transmission, is a feature of SARS‐CoV‐2 transmission which results in surging epidemics and large clusters of infection. The dispersion parameter is a statistical parameter used to characterize and quantify heterogeneity. In the context of measuring transmissibility, it is analogous to measures of superspreadin...
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Background Hong Kong maintained low circulation of SARS-CoV-2 until a major community epidemic of the omicron (B.1.1.529) sublineage BA.2 began in January 2022. Both mRNA (BNT162b2 [Fosun Pharma-BioNTech]) and inactivated CoronaVac (Sinovac, Beijing, China) vaccines are widely available; however, vaccination coverage has been low, particularly in o...
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For better monitoring and controlling influenza, WHO has launched FluNet (recently integrated to FluMART) to provide a unified platform for participating countries to routinely collect influenza-related syndromic, epidemiological and virological data. However, the reported data were incomplete.We propose a novel surveillance system based on data fr...
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Background: On-arrival quarantine has been one of the primary measures used to prevent the introduction of COVID-19 into Hong Kong since the start of the pandemic. Most on-arrival quarantines have been done in hotels, with the duration of quarantine and testing frequency during quarantine varying throughout the pandemic for various reasons. However...
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Omicron, a fast-spreading SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern reported to the World Health Organization on November 24, 2021, has raised international alarm. We estimated there is at least 50% chance that Omicron had been introduced by travellers from South Africa into 11 of the 14 countries studied by November 28, 2021.
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Background COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy can lead to reduced vaccine uptake and hinder the safe relaxation of other public health measures. This study aims to explore the factors associated with vaccine hesitancy and uptake among adults before and after the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination program in Hong Kong. Methods Cross-sectional telep...
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Given global Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine shortages and inequity of vaccine distributions, fractionation of vaccine doses might be an effective strategy for reducing public health and economic burden, notwithstanding the emergence of new variants of concern. In this study, we developed a multi-scale model incorporating population-lev...
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Influenza virus infections can lead to a number of secondary complications, including sepsis. We applied linear regression models to mortality and hospital admission data coded for septicaemia from 1998 to 2019 in Hong Kong, and estimated that septicaemia was associated with an annual average excess mortality rate of 0.23 (95% CI 0.04–0.40) per 100...
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https://academic.oup.com/jtm/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jtm/taac052/6571349?searchresult=1
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Hong Kong reported 12,631 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 213 deaths in the first two years of the pandemic but experienced a major wave predominantly of Omicron BA.2.2 in early 2022 with over 1.1 million reported SARS-CoV-2 infections and more than 7900 deaths. Our data indicated a shorter incubation period, serial interval, and generation time of in...
Preprint
Background Hong Kong maintained extremely low circulation of SARS-CoV-2 until a major community epidemic of Omicron BA.2 starting in January 2022. Both mRNA BNT162b2 (BioNTech/Fosun Pharma) and inactivated CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccines are widely available, however coverage has remained low in older adults. Vaccine effectiveness in this predominantl...
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Background Antimicrobial resistance is an increasingly important issue in public health as antibiotics are overused. Resistance to antimicrobial agents can pose significant challenges to infection treatment. Objectives To evaluate risk factors associated with carriage of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria in children in the Asia-Pacific region...
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Background The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 had become predominant globally by November 2021. Aim We evaluated transmission dynamics and epidemiological characteristics of the Delta variant in an outbreak in southern China. Methods Data on confirmed COVID-19 cases and their close contacts were retrospectively collected from the outbreak that occur...
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Many locations around the world have used real-time estimates of the time-varying effective reproductive number (Rt) of COVID-19 to provide evidence of transmission intensity to inform control strategies. Estimates of Rt are typically based on statistical models applied to case counts and typically suffer lags of more than a week because of the lat...
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Controlling transmission in restaurants is an important component of public health and social measures for coronavirus disease. We examined the effects of restaurant measures in Hong Kong. Our findings indicate that shortening operating hours did not have an effect on time-varying effective reproduction number when capacity was already reduced.
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Transmission heterogeneity is a notable feature of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemics, though previous efforts to estimate how heterogeneity changes over time are limited. Using contact tracing data, we compared the epidemiology of SARS and COVID-19 infection in Hong Kong in 2003 and 2020-...
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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose substantial risks to public health, worsened by the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants which may have a higher transmissibility and reduce vaccine effectiveness. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on reproduction numbers of SARS-CoV-2 variants and provided pooled estimates for each variant.
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We present an R package developed to quantify coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) importation risk. Quantifying and visualizing the importation risk of COVID-19 from inbound travelers is urgent and imperative to trigger public health responses, especially in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. We prov...
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Superspreading in transmission is a feature of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on globally reported dispersion parameters of SARS-CoV-2. The pooled estimate was 0.55 (95% CI: 0.30, 0.79). The study location and method were found to be important drivers for its diversity.
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Omicron, a fast-spreading SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern reported to the World Health Organization on November 24, 2021, has raised international alarm. We estimated there is at least 50% chance that Omicron had been introduced by travelers from South Africa into all of the 30 countries studied by November 27, 2021.
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Objectives This study aims to explore the attenuated impact of reported avoidance behaviours adherence on the transmission of COVID-19 through cross-sectional surveys in Hong Kong, in order to make up for the lack of research on avoidance behaviours fatigue. Design 40 cross-sectional telephone surveys. Setting All districts in Hong Kong. Partici...
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Background Influenza epidemics occur during winter in temperate zones, but have less regular seasonality in the subtropics and tropics. Here we quantified the role of environmental drivers of influenza seasonality in temperate and subtropical China. Methods We used weekly surveillance data on influenza virus activity in mainland China and Hong Kon...
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Background Testing of an entire community has been used as an approach to control COVID-19. In Hong Kong, a universal community testing programme (UCTP) was implemented at the fadeout phase of a community epidemic in July to September 2020. We described the utility of the UCTP in finding unrecognised infections, and analysed data from the UCTP and...
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Given constrained vaccine supplies globally, fractionation of vaccine doses may be an effective strategy for reducing disease and healthcare burdens, even with the emergence of COVID-19 variants. Using a multi-scale model that incorporates population-level transmission and individual-level vaccination, we estimate the costs associated with hospital...
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Using detailed exposure information on COVID-19 cases, we estimated the mean latent period to be 5.5 days (95% confidence interval: 5.1-5.9 days), shorter than the mean incubation period (6.9 days). Laboratory testing may allow shorter quarantines since 95% of COVID-19 cases shed virus within 10.6 days (95%CI: 9.6-11.6) of infection.
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Full-text available
Many locations around the world have used real-time estimates of the time-varying effective reproductive number (\({R}_{t}\)) of COVID-19 to provide evidence of transmission intensity to inform control strategies. Estimates of \({R}_{t}\) are typically based on statistical models applied to case counts and typically suffer lags of more than a week...
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Full-text available
Background COVID-19 has caused a heavy disease burden globally, but impact of process and the timing of data collection on the accuracy of estimation of key epidemiological distributions are unclear. Since infection times are typically unobserved, there are relatively few estimates of the generation time distribution. Methods We developed a statis...
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Background: The Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has become predominant globally. We evaluated the transmission dynamics and epidemiological characteristics of the Delta variant in an outbreak in southern China. Methods: Data on confirmed cases and their close contacts were retrospectively collected from the outbreak that occurred in Guangdong, China in...
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Background Many countries/regions implemented strict border measures (e.g., 14-day quarantines) as a blanket policy to prevent COVID-19 importations, while proposed “travel bubbles” as an alternative to reduce the impact of border controls. We aim to examine the differential importation risks with departure origins and post-arrival controls. Metho...
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Incubation period is an important parameter to inform quarantine period and to study transmission dynamics of infectious diseases. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on published estimates of the incubation period distribution of COVID-19, and showed that the pooled median of the point estimates of the mean, median and 95 th percent...
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Estimating the time-varying reproductive number, Rt, is critical for monitoring transmissibility of an infectious disease. The impact of imported cases on the estimation is rarely explored. We developed a model to estimate separately the Rt for local cases and imported cases, with accounting for imperfect contact tracing of cases. We applied this f...
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Community-wide social distancing has been a cornerstone of pandemic control prior to mass vaccinations. The extent to which pandemic fatigue is undermining adherence to such measures and accelerating transmission remains unclear. Using large-scale weekly telephone surveys and mobility data, we characterize the evolution of risk perception and prote...
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Background Estimates of the serial interval distribution contribute to our understanding of the transmission dynamics of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here, we aimed to summarize the existing evidence on serial interval distributions and delays in case isolation for COVID-19. Methods We conducted a systematic review of the published literat...
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Background: Testing of an entire community has been used as an approach to control COVID-19. In Hong Kong, a universal community testing programme (UCTP) was implemented at the fadeout phase of a community epidemic in July to September 2020, to determine the prevalence of unrecognised cases and limit any remaining transmission chains. We described...
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COVID-19-associated measures had a greater impact on gut microbiota, ARGs, and BRGs than did pre-pandemic international travel. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Actinobacteria richness decreased while genes conferring resistance to beta-lactam, polystyrene and phthalate increased. Such alterations may affect both colonisation resistance and acquisitio...
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Objectives: Mask-wearing outside the home has been almost universal in Hong Kong since late January 2020 with very high compliance. Nevertheless, community spread of COVID-19 has still occurred. We aimed to assess the settings where COVID-19 transmission occurred and determine the fraction of transmission events that occurred in settings where mas...
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Background The relative contributions of asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic and symptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 have not been clearly measured although control measures may differ in response to the risk of spread posed by different types of cases. Methods We collected detailed information on transmission events and symptom status based on labor...
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A fast-spreading severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 variant identified in the United Kingdom in December 2020 has raised international alarm. We analyzed data from 15 countries and estimated that the chance that this variant was imported into these countries by travelers from the United Kingdom by December 7 is >50%.
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A large number of common cold outbreaks in Hong Kong schools and childcare centers during October-November 2020 led to territorywide school dismissals. Increased susceptibility to rhinoviruses during prolonged school closures and dismissals for coronavirus disease and varying effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical interventions may have heightened tran...
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Background: Estimating the time-varying reproductive number, Rt, is critical for monitoring transmissibility of an emerging infectious disease during outbreaks. When local transmission is effectively suppressed, imported cases could substantially impact transmission dynamics. Methods: We developed methodology to estimate separately the Rt for local...
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A fast-spreading SARS-CoV-2 variant identified in the United Kingdom in December 2020 has raised international alarm. We estimate that, in 16 out of 19 countries analyzed, there is at least a 50% chance the variant was imported by travelers from the United Kingdom byDecember 7th. Article Summary Line The new variant COVID-19 has likely been introd...
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Background Disparities were marked in previous pandemics, usually with higher attack rates reported for those in lower socioeconomic positions and for ethnic minorities. Methods We examined characteristics of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, assessed associations between incidence and population-level characteristics at the level...
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Background Examining associations between viral genomic loads of enteroviruses and clinical severity is important for promoting and improving development of antiviral drugs related to hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD). Methods Throat swabs were collected from HFMD cases at acute phase of illness using a standardized technique in a prospective st...
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Superspreading events (SSEs) have characterized previous epidemics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections1–6. For SARS-CoV-2, the degree to which SSEs are involved in transmission remains unclear, but there is growing evidence that SSEs might be a typical fe...
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Objective: To investigate psychological and behavioural responses to COVID-19 among the Chinese general population. Design, setting and participants: We conducted a population-based mobile phone survey between 1 February and 10 February 2020 via random digit dialling. A total of 1011 adult residents in Wuhan (n=510), the epicentre and quarantine...
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An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
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Background: Hong Kong was one of the first locations outside of mainland China to identify COVID-19 cases in January 2020. We assessed the impact of various public health measures on transmission. Methods: We analysed data on all COVID-19 cases and public health measures in Hong Kong up to 7 May 2020. We described case-based, travel-based and commu...
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Superspreading events have characterised previous epidemics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections. Using contact tracing data, we identified and characterized SARS-CoV-2 clusters in Hong Kong. Given a superspreading threshold of 6-8 secondary cases, we iden...
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Superspreading events have characterised previous epidemics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infections. Using contact tracing data, we identified and characterized SARS-CoV-2 clusters in Hong Kong. Given a superspreading threshold of 6-8 secondary cases, we iden...
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Objective: To assess the case fatality risk (CFR) of COVID-19 in mainland China, stratified by region and clinical category, and estimate key time-to-event intervals. Methods: We collected individual information and aggregated data on COVID-19 cases from publicly available official sources from December 29, 2019 to April 17, 2020. We accounted f...
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We report temporal patterns of viral shedding in 94 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and modeled COVID-19 infectiousness profiles from a separate sample of 77 infector–infectee transmission pairs. We observed the highest viral load in throat swabs at the time of symptom onset, and inferred that infectiousness peaked on or before symptom...
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Various interventions for live poultry markets (LPMs) have emerged to control outbreaks of avian influenza A(H7N9) virus in mainland China since March 2013. We assessed the effectiveness of various LPM interventions in reducing transmission of H7N9 virus across 5 annual waves during 2013-2018, especially in the final wave. With the exception of wav...
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Background: China has an aging population with an increasing number of adults aged ≥ 60 years. Influenza causes a heavy disease burden in older adults, but can be alleviated by vaccination. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of a potential government-funded seasonal influenza vaccination program in older adults in China. Methods: We characterize...
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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines placed the majority of the country under enhanced community quarantine, restricting the movement of most of its 100 million plus population. These aggressive measures were initiated on March 15, 2020 and intensified on March 17. According to official data, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases...
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Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), began in Wuhan city, Hubei province, in December, 2019, and has spread throughout China. Understanding the evolving epidemiology and transmission dynamics of the outbreak beyond Hubei would provide timely information...
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Background A range of public health measures have been implemented to suppress local transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hong Kong. We examined the effect of these interventions and behavioural changes of the public on the incidence of COVID-19, as well as on influenza virus infections, which might share some aspects of transmiss...
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Background When a new infectious disease emerges, appropriate case definitions are important for clinical diagnosis and for public health surveillance. Tracking case numbers over time is important to establish the speed of spread and the effectiveness of interventions. We aimed to assess whether changes in case definitions affected inferences on th...
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Background: When a new infectious disease emerges, appropriate case definitions are important for clinical diagnosis and also for public health surveillance. Tracking case numbers over time allows us to determine speed of spread and the effectiveness of interventions. Changing case definitions during an epidemic can affect these inferences. Methods...