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1.
Front Public Health ; 10: 963315, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119862

ABSTRACT

Background: Work environment characteristics have an important impact on organizational wellbeing in health care facilities. In the Apulia Region, a new COVID-19 hospital was planned, designated and built in a few weeks for the treatment of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2. To our knowledge, this hospital, together with "Fiera Hospital" in Milan, are two of the few buildings worldwide that have been converted into new health care facilities with intensive care center units to treat COVID-19 patients, and this is the first study assessing organizational wellbeing in a newly designated COVID-19 hospital. Aims: To detect and assess the strong points, criticality, and perceptions of wellbeing/discomfort of health care workers engaged in the management of the current health emergency. Method: The study was conducted on 188 health care workers, with the "Multidimensional Organizational Health Questionnaire." Results: We found an overall positive level of organizational wellbeing. The more positive dimensions were "Collaboration between colleagues," "Organizational efficiency" and "Room Comfort." Conflict situations in the workplace were poorly perceived. A very low rate of absenteeism from work was also observed. Conclusions: Our results show the effectiveness of the organizational model adopted in the management of the COVID-19 hospital, especially in view of the work and emotional overload of the personnel called to face the epidemiological emergency on the frontline, which did not adversely affect the psychophysical conditions of the workers. The success of this model is related to the coexistence of all levels of care required during any type of health emergency in a single structure, paying particular attention to the architectural, functional, and procedural aspects of health care and to the so-called "humanization" of care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Hospitals , Workplace , Health Personnel
2.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(10)2022 Sep 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2066598

ABSTRACT

The active immunization of health care workers (HCWs) is a crucial measure to avoid nosocomial infection; nevertheless, vaccine coverage (VC) among health personnel in Italy is unsatisfactory. To improve VC in the healthcare set, the Hygiene and Occupational Medicine departments of Bari Policlinico General University Hospital applied a specific program. The operative procedure demands that in the context of the occupational medical examination, all workers are evaluated for susceptibility to vaccine-preventable diseases (VDPs), with immunization prophylaxis offered to those determined to be susceptible. This study analyzed data from workers who attended the biological risk assessment protocol from December 2017 to October 2021 (n = 1477), who were evaluated for the immune status for measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella. Among the enrolled subjects, non-protective antibody titers were higher for measles and mumps (13%), followed by rubella (11%) and varicella (8%). Appropriate vaccinations were offered to all susceptible HCWs, and HCWs were re-tested one month after immunization. The seroconversion rate after the administration of one or more booster dose(s) was over 80%. Overall, 2.5% of the subjects refused the offered vaccine(s); the main determinant of immunization compliance was younger age (aOR = 0.86; 95%CI = 0.80-0.92). Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, VPDs may still present a hazard in nosocomial environment. Our experience suggests that, despite hospital procedures and dedicated human assets, satisfactory VC cannot be reached without the provision of federal regulations. Nevertheless, public health policymakers have to improve the promotion of vaccine prophylaxis and education to reach higher VC.

3.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(8)2022 Jul 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1969521

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The research aimed to investigate the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections and their determinants in a large European cohort of more than 60,000 health workers. METHODS: A multicentric retrospective cohort study, involving 12 European centers, was carried out within the ORCHESTRA project, collecting data up to 18 November 2021 on fully vaccinated health workers. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections was investigated with its association with occupational and social-demographic characteristics (age, sex, job title, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, antibody titer levels, and time from the vaccination course completion). RESULTS: Among 64,172 health workers from 12 European health centers, 797 breakthrough infections were observed (cumulative incidence of 1.2%). The primary analysis using individual data on 8 out of 12 centers showed that age and previous infection significantly modified breakthrough infection rates. In the meta-analysis of aggregated data from all centers, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and the standardized antibody titer were inversely related to the risk of breakthrough infection (p = 0.008 and p = 0.007, respectively). CONCLUSION: The inverse correlation of antibody titer with the risk of breakthrough infection supports the evidence that vaccination plays a primary role in infection prevention, especially in health workers. Cellular immunity, previous clinical conditions, and vaccination timing should be further investigated.

4.
J Clin Med ; 11(11)2022 May 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869667

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 has infected many healthcare workers and (HCWs) worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine, analyze, and compare the frequency and characteristics of COVID-19 cases among HCWs of the University Hospital of Bari. METHODS: A retrospective observational study was conducted after preventive protocol implementation. The SARS-CoV-2 infection frequency was determined by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction on nasopharyngeal samples. RESULTS: Overall, 519 HCWs (9%) tested positive among a total of 6030 HCWs during the three waves. The highest frequency of COVID-19 cases (n = 326; 63%) was observed during the 2nd wave, from September 2020 to December 2020, and the lowest (n = 34; 7%) was observed during the 1st wave, from March 2020 to August 2020 (p < 0.001). Working in a designated COVID-19 department was not a risk factor for infection. CONCLUSIONS: The correct use of personal protective equipment and the early identification of symptomatic workers are still essential factors to avoid nosocomial clusters, even in this current phase of vaccine availability.

5.
Front Public Health ; 9: 732707, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775867

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although surgery is essential in healthcare, a significant number of patients suffer unfair harm while undergoing surgery. Many of these originate from failures in non-technical aspects, especially communication among operators. A surgical safety checklist is a simple tool that helps to reduce surgical adverse events, but even if it is fast to fill out, its compilation is often neglected by the healthcare workers because of unprepared cultural background. The present study aims to value the efficacy of a free intervention, such as a short training about risk management and safety checklist, to improve checklist adherence. METHODS: In March 2019, the medical and nursing staff of the General Surgical Unit attended a two-lesson theoretical training concerning surgical safety and risk management tools such as the surgical safety checklist. The authors compared the completeness of the surgical checklists after and before the training, considering the same period (2 months) for both groups. RESULT: The surgical safety checklists were present in 198 cases (70.97%) before the intervention and 231 cases (96.25%) after that. After the training, the compilation adherence increased for every different type of healthcare worker of the unit (surgeons, nurses, anesthetists, and scrab nurses). Furthermore, a longer hospitalization was associated with a higher surgical checklist adherence by the operators. CONCLUSIONS: The results showed that a free and simple intervention, such as a two-lesson training, significantly stimulated the correct use of the surgical safety checklist. Moreover, the checklist adherence increased even for the operators who did not attend the training, maybe because of the positive influence of the colleagues' positive behaviors. As the results were promising with only two theoretical lessons, much more can be done to build a new safety culture in healthcare.


Subject(s)
Checklist , Health Personnel , Humans , Patient Safety , Safety Management
6.
Front Public Health ; 9: 649760, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1760280

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Occupational physicians, as an aspect of the periodic health surveillance of workers prescribed by law, must develop preventive programs against adverse health-related occurrences (Legislative Decree 81/2008, art.25) to reduce major risk factors for non-communicable/chronic diseases. Eating habits play an important role in defining risk trajectories in the workplace. Methods: We randomly and cross-sectionally evaluated 147 females, of which 59 were healthcare workers (HCWs) and 88 were non-HCWs. The assessment included a dietary screening for adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) and a clinical baseline collection of major fluid biomarkers and anthropometric indicators for cardiovascular and metabolic risk. Results: The HCW group exhibited greater adherence to the MD than the non-HCW group. Nevertheless, they showed higher serum levels of triglycerides and total cholesterol. Menopause and type of work significantly and unfavorably affected triglyceride serum levels among HCWs. Conclusion: Greater preventive efforts are needed in the context of periodic health surveillance by occupational physicians. Disseminating additional information on a healthier lifestyle, particularly among female workers of perimenopausal age, is a key issue.


Subject(s)
Diet, Mediterranean , Triglycerides , Female , Health Personnel , Humans
7.
J Clin Med ; 10(18)2021 Sep 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1409883

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long COVID is a syndrome characterized by the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 infection symptoms. Among HCWs, prolonged COVID symptoms could lead to the inability to perform work tasks. The aim of this study is to investigate 35-day long-COVID (35-LC) characteristics and risk factors in a one-year period. METHODS: We carried out a retrospective cohort study during the COVID-19 pandemic at University Hospital of Bari. A total of 5750 HCWs were tested for close contact with a confirmed case, in the absence of personal protective equipment, or for symptom development. RESULTS: Each positive HCW was investigated for cardiovascular risk factors or respiratory diseases. An amount of 352 HCWs (6.1%) were infected by SARS-CoV-2, and 168 cases evolved to long COVID. The 35-LC group showed mean BMI values higher than the non-35-LC group (25.9 kg/m2 vs. 24.8 kg/m2, respectively), and this difference was significant (p-value: 0.020). Moreover, HCWs who suffered from pulmonary disease (OR = 3.7, CL 95%: 1.35-10.53; p-value = 0.007) or overweight (OR = 1.6 CL 95%: 1.05-2.56; p-value = 0.029) had an increased risk of developing 35-LC. CONCLUSIONS: Long COVID is an emerging problem for hospital managers as it may reduce the number of HCWs deployed in the fight against COVID-19. High BMI and previous pulmonary disease could be risk factors for 35-LC development in exposed HCWs.

8.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(3): e754-e764, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338688

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding the drivers of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission is crucial for control policies, but evidence of transmission rates in different settings remains limited. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review to estimate secondary attack rates (SARs) and observed reproduction numbers (Robs) in different settings exploring differences by age, symptom status, and duration of exposure. To account for additional study heterogeneity, we employed a beta-binomial model to pool SARs across studies and a negative-binomial model to estimate Robs. RESULTS: Households showed the highest transmission rates, with a pooled SAR of 21.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]:17.4-24.8). SARs were significantly higher where the duration of household exposure exceeded 5 days compared with exposure of ≤5 days. SARs related to contacts at social events with family and friends were higher than those for low-risk casual contacts (5.9% vs 1.2%). Estimates of SARs and Robs for asymptomatic index cases were approximately one-seventh, and for presymptomatic two-thirds of those for symptomatic index cases. We found some evidence for reduced transmission potential both from and to individuals younger than 20 years of age in the household context, which is more limited when examining all settings. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that exposure in settings with familiar contacts increases SARS-CoV-2 transmission potential. Additionally, the differences observed in transmissibility by index case symptom status and duration of exposure have important implications for control strategies, such as contact tracing, testing, and rapid isolation of cases. There were limited data to explore transmission patterns in workplaces, schools, and care homes, highlighting the need for further research in such settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Contact Tracing , Family Characteristics , Humans , Incidence
9.
Medicina (Kaunas) ; 57(5)2021 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227042

ABSTRACT

Background and Objectives: The first clusters of SARS-CoV-2 infection were identified in an occupational setting, and to date, a significant portion of the cases may result from occupational exposure; thus, COVID-19 should also be considered a new occupational risk that both directly and indirectly impacts the health of workers. Given the significance of occupational-exposure-related infections and deaths, this study aims to assess the roles and tasks of occupational physicians (OPs) in countering the spread of the infection. Indeed, despite the OP's centrality in risk management in the workplace, its activity in the current epidemic context has rarely been mentioned. Materials and Methods: Three different databases (PubMed, Google Scholar, and Embase) were questioned using the main keywords "COVID-19" and "SARS-CoV-2" that were crossed, according to different needs, with the terms "occupational medicine", "occupational physician", "workplace", and "risk assessment" using, when possible, the MeSH database research. Additionally, a systematic research of the regulatory changes of workplaces health surveillance was performed on reference sites of international, European, and Italian authorities. Results: Fundamental tasks and duties of OPs in the current COVID-19 outbreak are highlighted by examining their clinical activity and technical action. A risk assessment and management workflow is proposed, and medico-legal implications in case of infection at work are also discussed in the light of recent regulatory changes that clearly attribute to OPs an important role in safeguarding public health. Conclusion: The proposed approach can provide new instruments to contrast the spread of the infection as part of a comprehensive system response to the current pandemic, for which OPs are called to assume full responsibility.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians , Humans , Italy , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Environ Res ; 195: 110793, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1051629

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are highly exposed to SARS-CoV-2 infection given their specific tasks. The IgG-IgM serological assay has demonstrated good accuracy in early detection in symptomatic patients, but its role in the diagnosis of asymptomatic patients is uncertain. The aim of our study was to assess IgM and IgG prevalence in sera in a large cohort of HCWs previously subjected to Nasopharyngeal swab test (NST) after accurate risk assessment due to positive COVID-19 patient exposure during an observation period of 90 days. METHODS: 2407 asymptomatic HCWs that had close contact with COVID-19 patients in the period between April 8th and June 7th were screened with NST based on the RT-PCR method. In parallel, they underwent large-scale chemiluminescence immunoassays involving IgM-IgG serological screening to determine actual viral spread in the same cohort. RESULTS: During the 90-day observation period, 18 workers (0.75%) resulted positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection at the NST, whereas the positivity rates for IgM and IgG were 11.51% and 2.37%, respectively (277 workers). Despite high specificity, serological tests were inadequate for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with previous positive NST results (IgM and IgG sensitivities of 27.78% and 50.00%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate a widespread low viral load of SARS-CoV-2 among hospital workers. However, serological screening showed very low sensitivity with respect to NST in identifying infected workers, and negative IgG and IgM results should not exclude the diagnosis of COVID-19. IgG-IgM chemiluminescence immunoassays could increase the diagnosis of COVID-19 only in association with NST, and this association is considered helpful for decision-making regarding returning to work.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Italy/epidemiology , Prevalence , Public Health , Sensitivity and Specificity
11.
Int J Infect Dis ; 102: 532-537, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-907182

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among exposed healthcare workers (HCWs) after preventive protocol implementation. METHODS: A total of 5750 HCWs were included in the study. Those in contact with COVID-19 patients were allocated into a high-risk or a low-risk group based on contact type (PPE- or non-PPE-protected); high-risk workers underwent nasopharyngeal swab tests, while among low-risk workers, swab tests were carried out only for symptomatic workers (active surveillance). The prevalence was determined by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction on nasopharyngeal samples. RESULTS: 3570 HCWs had contact with 1065 COVID-19 patients. Among them, 3494 were subjected to active surveillance (low-risk group); 2886 (82.60%) were subjected to a swab test; and 15 were positive (0.52%). Seventy-six HCWs (2.13% of exposed) were included in the high-risk group, and a swab test was mandatory for each participant. Overall, 66 (86.84% of high-risk) were negative, and 10 were positive (13.16%), resulting in a higher risk of infection than in the low-risk group [OR = 29.00; 95% CI:12.56-66.94; p < 0.0001]. CONCLUSION: To date, the SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence is 0.70% among exposed HCWs and 0.435% among all HCWs working at the examined university hospital. The correct use of PPE and the early identification of symptomatic workers are essential factors to avoiding nosocomial clusters.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Cross Infection/transmission , Cross Infection/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Frail Elderly/statistics & numerical data , Hospitals, University/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
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