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WMJ ; 121(2): 121-126, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1940000


INTRODUCTION: Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 among university employees is an important part of mitigation strategies to prevent asymptomatic transmission and ensure a safe learning and work environment. Here, we assess the feasibility and performance of a program that relies on monitored self-collected nasal swabs to detect SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic faculty and staff. METHODS: We recruited 1,030 faculty and staff via rolling enrollment who completed the required University of Wisconsin-Madison employee COVID-19 training and reported working on campus. Asymptomatic participants visited a designated location during a specified timeframe each week where they self-collected nasal swabs supervised by study staff. Specimens were stored in a cooler between 2 °C and 8 °C, then transported to the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for polymerase chain reaction testing. Symptomatic participants or participants with a known exposure were advised to test elsewhere and follow quarantine guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. RESULTS: Over the course of 31 weeks, 1,030 participants self-collected 17,323 monitored nasal swabs resulting in high participation (90%). SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 16 specimens. Eight specimens were inconclusive but were treated as positive results because of the implied detection of 1 or more SARS-CoV-2 genes. There were no invalid tests. Weekly SARS-CoV-2 incidence among participants ranged from 0 to 1.54% (x̄ = 0.20%). The SARS-CoV-2 incidence among participants was similar to estimated incidence in the greater university employee population. CONCLUSION: Weekly SARS-CoV-2 surveillance of asymptomatic faculty and staff on campus allowed for estimation of weekly SARS-CoV-2 incidence among on-campus employees. This surveillance protocol presents a low-cost, effective, and scalable option to identify asymptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 among university employees.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Faculty , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States , Universities , Wisconsin/epidemiology
J Am Med Dir Assoc ; 21(1): 29-33, 2020 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-124748


Residents of long-term care facilities (LCTFs) have high morbidity and mortality associated with acute respiratory infections (ARIs). Limited information exists on the virology of ARI in LTCFs, where virological testing is reactive. We report on findings of a surveillance feasibility substudy from a larger prospective trial of introducing rapid influenza diagnostic testing (RIDT) at 10 Wisconsin LTCFs. Any resident with symptoms consistent with ARI had a nasal swab specimen collected for RIDT by staff. Following RIDT, the residual swab was placed into viral transport medium and tested for influenza using Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, and for 20 pathogens using a multiplex polymerase chain reaction respiratory pathogen panel. Numbers of viruses in each of 7 categories (influenza A, influenza B, coronaviruses, human metapneumovirus, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and rhinovirus/enterovirus) across the 3 years were compared using χ2. Totals of 160, 215, and 122 specimens were collected during 2016‒2017, 2017‒2018, and 2018‒2019, respectively. Respiratory pathogen panel identified viruses in 54.8% of tested specimens. Influenza A (19.2%), influenza B (12.6%), respiratory syncytial virus (15.9%), and human metapneumovirus (20.9%) accounted for 69% of all detections, whereas coronaviruses (17.2%), rhinovirus/enterovirus (10.5%) and parainfluenza (3.8%) were less common. The distribution of viruses varied significantly across the 3 years (χ2 = 71.663; df = 12; P < .001). Surveillance in LTCFs using nasal swabs collected for RIDT is highly feasible and yields high virus identification rates. Significant differences in virus composition occurred across the 3 study years. Simple approaches to surveillance may provide a more comprehensive assessment of respiratory viruses in LTCF settings.

Respiratory Tract Infections , Viruses , Humans , Infant , Long-Term Care , Prospective Studies , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , Wisconsin/epidemiology