Risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection in healthcare workers outside hospitals: A real-life immuno-virological study during the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Fröberg M, Hassan SS, Pimenoff VN, Akterin S, Conneryd Lundgren K, Elfström KM, Dillner J

PLoS One 16 (9) e0257854 [2021-09-28; online 2021-09-28]

Most COVID-19 related infections and deaths may occur in healthcare outside hospitals. Here we explored SARS-CoV-2 infections among healthcare workers (HCWs) in this setting. All healthcare providers in Stockholm, Sweden were asked to recruit HCWs at work for a study of past or present SARS-CoV-2 infections among HCWs. Study participants This study reports the results from 839 HCWs, mostly employees of primary care centers, sampled in June 2020. SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity was found among 12% (100/839) of HCWs, ranging from 0% to 29% between care units. Seropositivity decreased by age and was highest among HCWs <40 years of age. Within this age group there was 19% (23/120) seropositivity among women and 11% (15/138) among men (p<0.02). Current infection, as measured using PCR, was found in only 1% and the typical testing pattern of pre-symptomatic potential "superspreaders" found in only 2/839 subjects. Previous SARS-CoV-2 infections were common among younger HCWs in this setting. Pre-symptomatic infection was uncommon, in line with the strong variability in SARS-CoV-2 exposure between units. Prioritizing infection prevention and control including sufficient and adequate personal protective equipment, and vaccination for all HCWs are important to prevent nosocomial infections and infections as occupational injuries during an ongoing pandemic.

Category: Biochemistry

Category: Health

Type: Journal article

PubMed 34582483

DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0257854

Crossref 10.1371/journal.pone.0257854

pii: PONE-D-21-17200
pmc: PMC8478233

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