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1.
Scand J Work Environ Health ; 2022 Jun 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1879594

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to identify the occupational risk for a SARS-CoV-2 infection in a nationwide sample of German workers during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic (1 February-31 August 2020). METHODS: We used the data of 108 960 workers who participated in a COVID follow-up survey of the German National Cohort (NAKO). Occupational characteristics were derived from the German Classification of Occupations 2010 (Klassifikation der Berufe 2010). PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections were assessed from self-reports. Incidence rates (IR) and incidence rate ratios (IRR) were estimated using robust Poisson regression, adjusted for person-time at risk, age, sex, migration background, study center, working hours, and employment relationship. RESULTS: The IR was 3.7 infections per 1000 workers [95% confidence interval (CI) 3.3-4.1]. IR differed by occupational sector, with the highest rates observed in personal (IR 4.8, 95% CI 4.0-5.6) and business administration (IR 3.4, 95% CI 2.8-3.9) services and the lowest rates in occupations related to the production of goods (IR 2.0, 95% CI 1.5-2.6). Infections were more frequent among essential workers compared with workers in non-essential occupations (IRR 1.95, 95% CI 1.59-2.40) and among highly skilled compared with skilled professions (IRR 1.36, 95% CI 1.07-1.72). CONCLUSIONS: The results emphasize higher infection risks in essential occupations and personal-related services, especially in the healthcare sector. Additionally, we found evidence that infections were more common in higher occupational status positions at the beginning of the pandemic.

2.
SSM Qual Res Health ; 2: 100070, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757847

ABSTRACT

Although a majority of SARS-COV-2 diagnosis are asymptomatic, presymptimatic or minimally symptomatic, little has been described and understood about the illness careers of these individuals. This study explored the lived experience of a SARS-COV-2 diagnosis and subsequent quarantine among individuals in Germany who were diagnosed with SARS-COV-2 during the second wave of the pandemic (late 2020-early 2021), but whose diagnosis was unexpected due to a lack of a known contact, or the asymptomatic nature of their case at the time of diagnosis. In-depth interviews (n â€‹= â€‹22) were conducted by phone or video call, audio-recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Routine debriefings guided data collection and facilitated analysis, which followed a framework approach. Regardless of age, gender or socioeconomic status, data consistently demonstrated a diagnosis and quarantine career marked by five emotional phases: overconfidence, shock and denial, coming to grips and asking questions, enduring, and cautious optimism as quarantine ended. These experiences suggest that providing trustworthy, easily accessible information regarding certain key aspects of the post diagnosis and quarantine period could benefit patients in terms of reducing stress, understanding the consequences of a diagnosis and mitigating foreseeable challenges in terms of personal, logistical and emotional issues. Follow-up research with providers and public health bureaus could inform how to best tailor such messaging for clients who experience an unexpected diagnosis.

3.
Trials ; 22(1): 656, 2021 Sep 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440949

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To achieve higher effectiveness in population-based SARS-CoV-2 surveillance and to reliably predict the course of an outbreak, screening, and monitoring of infected individuals without major symptoms (about 40% of the population) will be necessary. While current testing capacities are also used to identify such asymptomatic cases, this rather passive approach is not suitable in generating reliable population-based estimates of the prevalence of asymptomatic carriers to allow any dependable predictions on the course of the pandemic. METHODS: This trial implements a two-factorial, randomized, controlled, multi-arm, prospective, interventional, single-blinded design with cluster sampling and four study arms, each representing a different SARS-CoV-2 testing and surveillance strategy based on individuals' self-collection of saliva samples which are then sent to and analyzed by a laboratory. The targeted sample size for the trial is 10,000 saliva samples equally allocated to the four study arms (2500 participants per arm). Strategies differ with respect to tested population groups (individuals vs. all household members) and testing approach (without vs. with pre-screening survey). The trial is complemented by an economic evaluation and qualitative assessment of user experiences. Primary outcomes include costs per completely screened person, costs per positive case, positive detection rate, and precision of positive detection rate. DISCUSSION: Systems for active surveillance of the general population will gain more importance in the context of pandemics and related disease prevention efforts. The pandemic parameters derived from such active surveillance with routine population monitoring therefore not only enable a prospective assessment of the short-term course of a pandemic, but also a more targeted and thus more effective use of local and short-term countermeasures. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov DRKS00023271 . Registered November 30, 2020, with the German Clinical Trials Register (Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Humans , Population Groups , Prospective Studies , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Treatment Outcome
4.
Trials ; 22(1): 39, 2021 Jan 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440947

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: In this cluster-randomised controlled study (CoV-Surv Study), four different "active" SARS-CoV-2 testing strategies for general population surveillance are evaluated for their effectiveness in determining and predicting the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infections in a given population. In addition, the costs and cost-effectiveness of the four surveillance strategies will be assessed. Further, this trial is supplemented by a qualitative component to determine the acceptability of each strategy. Findings will inform the choice of the most effective, acceptable and affordable strategy for SARS-CoV-2 surveillance, with the most effective and cost-effective strategy becoming part of the local public health department's current routine health surveillance activities. Investigating its everyday performance will allow us to examine the strategy's applicability to real time prevalence prediction and the usefulness of the resulting information for local policy makers to implement countermeasures that effectively prevent future nationwide lockdowns. The authors would like to emphasize the importance and relevance of this study and its expected findings in the context of population-based disease surveillance, especially in respect to the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In Germany, but also in many other countries, COVID-19 surveillance has so far largely relied on passive surveillance strategies that identify individuals with clinical symptoms, monitor those cases who then tested positive for the virus, followed by tracing of individuals in close contact to those positive cases. To achieve higher effectiveness in population surveillance and to reliably predict the course of an outbreak, screening and monitoring of infected individuals without major symptoms (about 40% of the population) will be necessary. While current testing capacities are also used to identify such asymptomatic cases, this rather passive approach is not suitable in generating reliable population-based estimates of the prevalence of asymptomatic carriers to allow any dependable predictions on the course of the pandemic. To better control and manage the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, current strategies therefore need to be complemented by an active surveillance of the wider population, i.e. routinely conducted testing and monitoring activities to identify and isolate infected individuals regardless of their clinical symptoms. Such active surveillance strategies will enable more effective prevention of the spread of the virus as they can generate more precise population-based parameters during a pandemic. This essential information will be required in order to determine the best strategic and targeted short-term countermeasures to limit infection spread locally. TRIAL DESIGN: This trial implements a cluster-randomised, two-factorial controlled, prospective, interventional, single-blinded design with four study arms, each representing a different SARS-CoV-2 testing and surveillance strategy. PARTICIPANTS: Eligible are individuals age 7 years or older living in Germany's Rhein-Neckar Region who consent to provide a saliva sample (all four arms) after completion of a brief questionnaire (two arms only). For the qualitative component, different samples of study participants and non-participants (i.e. eligible for study, but refuse to participate) will be identified for additional interviews. For these interviews, only individuals age 18 years or older are eligible. INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: Of the four surveillance strategies to be assessed and compared, Strategy A1 is considered the gold standard for prevalence estimation and used to determine bias in other arms. To determine the cost-effectiveness, each strategy is compared to status quo, defined as the currently practiced passive surveillance approach. Strategy A1: Individuals (one per household) receive information and study material by mail with instructions on how to produce a saliva sample and how to return the sample by mail. Once received by the laboratory, the sample is tested for SARS-CoV-2 using Reverse Transcription Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP). Strategy A2: Individuals (one per household) receive information and study material by mail with instructions on how to produce their own as well as saliva samples from each household member and how to return these samples by mail. Once received by the laboratory, the samples are tested for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-LAMP. Strategy B1: Individuals (one per household) receive information by mail on how to complete a brief pre-screening questionnaire which asks about COVID-19 related clinical symptoms and risk exposures. Only individuals whose pre-screening score crosses a defined threshold, will then receive additional study material by mail with instructions on how to produce a saliva sample and how to return the sample by mail. Once received by the laboratory, the saliva sample is tested for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-LAMP. Strategy B2: Individuals (one per household) receive information by mail on how to complete a brief pre-screening questionnaire which asks about COVID-19 related clinical symptoms. Only individuals whose pre-screening score crosses a defined threshold, will then receive additional study material by mail with instructions how to produce their own as well as saliva samples from each household member and how to return these samples by mail. Once received by the laboratory, the samples are tested for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-LAMP. In each strategy, RT-LAMP positive samples are additionally analyzed with qPCR in order to minimize the number of false positives. MAIN OUTCOMES: The identification of the one best strategy will be determined by a set of parameters. Primary outcomes include costs per correctly screened person, costs per positive case, positive detection rate, and precision of positive detection rate. Secondary outcomes include participation rate, costs per asymptomatic case, prevalence estimates, number of asymptomatic cases per study arm, ratio of symptomatic to asymptomatic cases per study arm, participant satisfaction. Additional study components (not part of the trial) include cost effectiveness of each of the four surveillance strategies compared to passive monitoring (i.e. status quo), development of a prognostic model to predict hospital utilization caused by SARS-CoV-2, time from test shipment to test application and time from test shipment to test result, and perception and preferences of the persons to be tested with regard to test strategies. RANDOMISATION: Samples are drawn in three batches of three continuous weeks. Randomisation follows a two-stage process. First, a total of 220 sampling points have been allocated to the three different batches. To obtain an integer solution, the Cox-algorithm for controlled rounding has been used. Afterwards, sample points have been drawn separately per batch, following a probability proportional to size (PPS) random sample. Second, for each cluster the same number of residential addresses is randomly sampled from the municipal registries (self-weighted sample of individuals). The 28,125 addresses drawn per municipality are then randomly allocated to the four study arms A1, A2, B1, and B2 in the ratio 5 to 2.5 to 14 to 7 based on the expected response rates in each arm and the sensitivity and specificity of the pre-screening tool as applied in strategy B1 and B2. Based on the assumptions, this allocation should yield 2500 saliva samples in each strategy. Although a municipality can be sampled by multiple batches and the overall number of addresses per municipality might vary, the number of addresses contacted in each arm is kept constant. BLINDING (MASKING): The design is single-blinded, meaning the staff conducting the SARS-CoV-2 tests are unaware of the study arm assignment of each single participant and test sample. SAMPLE SIZES: Total sample size for the trial is 10,000 saliva samples equally allocated to the four study arms (i.e. 2,500 participants per arm). For the qualitative component, up to 60 in-depth interviews will be conducted with about 30 study participants (up to 15 in each arm A and B) and 30 participation refusers (up to 15 in each arm A and B) purposefully selected from the quantitative study sample to represent a variety of gender and ages to explore experiences with admission or rejection of study participation. Up to 25 asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 positive study participants will be purposefully selected to explore the way in which asymptomatic men and women diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 give meaning to their diagnosis and to the dialectic between feeling concurrently healthy and yet also being at risk for transmitting COVID-19. In addition, 100 randomly selected study participants will be included to explore participants' perspective on testing processes and implementation. TRIAL STATUS: Final protocol version is "Surveillance_Studienprotokoll_03Nov2020_v1_2" from November 3, 2020. Recruitment started November 18, 2020 and is expected to end by or before December 31, 2020. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial is currently being registered with the German Clinical Trials Register (Deutsches Register Klinischer Studien), DRKS00023271 ( https://www.drks.de/drks_web/navigate.do?navigationId=trial . HTML&TRIAL_ID=DRKS00023271). Retrospectively registered 30 November 2020. FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/economics , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/economics , Health Care Costs , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/economics , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/economics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva/virology , Surveys and Questionnaires/economics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Population Surveillance , Predictive Value of Tests , Prevalence , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Reproducibility of Results , Single-Blind Method
5.
BMJ Open ; 11(7): e049494, 2021 07 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1329057

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To examine the knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) of COVID-19 of rural and urban residents in Liberia to inform the development of local social and behaviour change communication strategies. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, mixed-mode (online and telephone) survey using non-probability sampling. SETTING: All 15 counties in Liberia with a focus on Maryland County. PARTICIPANTS: From 28 May to 28 June 2020, data were collected from a total of 431 adults aged 18 years and older (telephone 288 (66.8%); online 143 (33.2%)) out of a total of 741 contacts. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: KAP scores. Frequencies and proportions were calculated, followed by univariate and multivariable analyses to examine the association between KAP scores and the sociodemographic variables. RESULTS: Around 69% of the online survey respondents were younger than 35 years of age, compared with 56% in the telephone interviews. The majority (87%) of online respondents had completed tertiary education, compared with 77% of the telephone respondents. Male participants, on average, achieved higher knowledge (52%) and attitude scores (72%), in contrast to females (49% and 67%, respectively). Radio (71%) was the most cited source for COVID-19 information, followed by social media (63%). After controlling for sociodemographic variables, adaptive regression modelling revealed that survey mode achieved 100% importance for predicting knowledge and practice levels with regard to COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: The survey population demonstrated moderate COVID-19 knowledge, with significant differences between survey mode and educational level. Correct knowledge of COVID-19 was associated with appropriate practices in Maryland County. Generalisation of survey findings must be drawn carefully owing to the limitations of the sampling methods. Yet, given the differences in knowledge gaps between survey modes, sex, education, occupation and place of residence, it is recommended that information is tailored to different audiences.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Liberia , Male , Maryland , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
6.
Bull World Health Organ ; 98(9): 590-598, 2020 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-769113

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate two pooled-sample analysis strategies (a routine high-throughput approach and a novel context-sensitive approach) for mass testing during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with an emphasis on the number of tests required to screen a population. METHODS: We used Monte Carlo simulations to compare the two testing strategies for different infection prevalences and pooled group sizes. With the routine high-throughput approach, heterogeneous sample pools are formed randomly for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. With the novel context-sensitive approach, PCR analysis is performed on pooled samples from homogeneous groups of similar people that have been purposively formed in the field. In both approaches, all samples contributing to pools that tested positive are subsequently analysed individually. FINDINGS: Both pooled-sample strategies would save substantial resources compared to individual analysis during surge testing and enhanced epidemic surveillance. The context-sensitive approach offers the greatest savings: for instance, 58-89% fewer tests would be required for a pooled group size of 3 to 25 samples in a population of 150 000 with an infection prevalence of 1% or 5%. Correspondingly, the routine high-throughput strategy would require 24-80% fewer tests than individual testing. CONCLUSION: Pooled-sample PCR screening could save resources during COVID-19 mass testing. In particular, the novel context-sensitive approach, which uses pooled samples from homogeneous population groups, could substantially reduce the number of tests required to screen a population. Pooled-sample approaches could help countries sustain population screening over extended periods of time and thereby help contain foreseeable second-wave outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Monte Carlo Method , Pandemics , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2
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