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1.
Seminars in Respiratory & Critical Care Medicine ; 44(1):1-2, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2186463
2.
Current Allergy and Clinical Immunology ; 35(1):29-34, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2057790
4.
JDR Clin Trans Res ; : 23800844211071111, 2022 Feb 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1707719

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the association between safety perception on vaccine acceptance and adoptions of risk mitigation strategies among dental health care workers (DHCWs). METHODS: A survey was emailed to DHCWs in the New Jersey area from December 2020 to January 2021. Perceived safety from regular SARS-CoV-2 testing of self, coworkers, and patients and its association with vaccine hesitancy and risk mitigation were ascertained. Risk Mitigation Strategy (RiMS) scores were computed from groupings of office measures: 1) physical distancing (reduced occupancy, traffic flow, donning of masks, minimal room crowding), 2) personal protective equipment (fitted for N95; donning N95 masks; use of face shields; coverings for head, body, and feet), and 3) environmental disinfection (suction, air filtration, ultraviolet, surface wiping). RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 testing of dental professionals, coworkers, and patients were perceived to provide safety at 49%, 55%, and 68%, respectively. While dentists were least likely to feel safe with regular self-testing for SARS-CoV-2 (P < 0.001) as compared with hygienists and assistants, they were more willing than hygienists (P = 0.004; odds ratio, 1.79 [95% CI, 1.21 to 2.66]) and assistants (P < 0.001; odds ratio, 3.32 [95% CI, 1.93 to 5.71]) to receive the vaccine. RiMS scores ranged from 0 to 19 for 467 participants (mean [SD], 10.9 [2.9]). RiMS scores did not significantly differ among groups of DHCWs; however, mean RiMS scores were higher among those who received or planned to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than those with who did not (P = 0.004). DHCWs who felt safer with regular testing had greater RiMS scores than those who did not (11.0 vs. 10.3, P = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Understanding DHCWs' perception of risk and safety is crucial, as it likely influences attitudes toward testing and implementation of office risk mitigation policies. Clinical studies that correlate risk perception and RiMS with SARS-CoV-2 testing are needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of RiMS in dental care settings. KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER STATEMENT: Educators, clinicians, and policy makers can use the results of this study when improving attitudes toward testing and implementation of risk mitigation policies within dental offices, for current and future pandemics.

5.
Afr J Thorac Crit Care Med ; 27(4)2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502738

ABSTRACT

SUMMARY: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is transmitted mainly by aerosol in particles <10 µm that can remain suspended for hours before being inhaled. Because particulate filtering facepiece respirators ('respirators'; e.g. N95 masks) are more effective than surgical masks against bio-aerosols, many international organisations now recommend that health workers (HWs) wear a respirator when caring for individuals who may have COVID-19. In South Africa (SA), however, surgical masks are still recommended for the routine care of individuals with possible or confirmed COVID-19, with respirators reserved for so-called aerosol-generating procedures. In contrast, SA guidelines do recommend respirators for routine care of individuals with possible or confirmed tuberculosis (TB), which is also transmitted via aerosol. In health facilities in SA, distinguishing between TB and COVID-19 is challenging without examination and investigation, both of which may expose HWs to potentially infectious individuals. Symptom-based triage has limited utility in defining risk. Indeed, significant proportions of individuals with COVID-19 and/or pulmonary TB may not have symptoms and/or test negative. The prevalence of undiagnosed respiratory disease is therefore likely significant in many general clinical areas (e.g. waiting areas). Moreover, a proportion of HWs are HIV-positive and are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 and death. RECOMMENDATIONS: Sustained improvements in infection prevention and control (IPC) require reorganisation of systems to prioritise HW and patient safety. While this will take time, it is unacceptable to leave HWs exposed until such changes are made. We propose that the SA health system adopts a target of 'zero harm', aiming to eliminate transmission of respiratory pathogens to all individuals in every healthcare setting. Accordingly, we recommend: the use of respirators by all staff (clinical and non-clinical) during activities that involve contact or sharing air in indoor spaces with individuals who: (i) have not yet been clinically evaluated; or (ii) are thought or known to have TB and/or COVID-19 or other potentially harmful respiratory infections;the use of respirators that meet national and international manufacturing standards;evaluation of all respirators, at the least, by qualitative fit testing; andthe use of respirators as part of a 'package of care' in line with international IPC recommendations. We recognise that this will be challenging, not least due to global and national shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). SA national policy around respiratory protective equipment enables a robust framework for manufacture and quality control and has been supported by local manufacturers and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. Respirator manufacturers should explore adaptations to improve comfort and reduce barriers to communication. Structural changes are needed urgently to improve the safety of health facilities: persistent advocacy and research around potential systems change remain essential.

7.
S Afr Med J ; 111(10): 950-956, 2021 09 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1478411

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The phenomenon of silent hypoxaemia has been described in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia, which is characterised by low oxygen saturation levels of <90% in those who appear clinically well and do not show signs of significant respiratory distress. OBJECTIVES: To assess the impact on clinical outcomes for high-risk COVID-19 patients using a pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen saturation levels in a home setting. METHODS: We performed a retrospective cohort analysis using data from a large South African insurance administrator. Patients were categorised as high risk, based on age and specific underlying clinical conditions, or from predictive models derived from medical scheme administrative claims data. The impact of pulse oximetry home monitoring on COVID-19 clinical outcomes was investigated by the use of Cox proportional hazard models. RESULTS: Between 2 March 2020 and 31 October 2020, of 38 660 patients analysed, 8 115 were in the intervention group. The 60-day mortality rate for the evaluated high-risk population was 1.35%. After adjusting for age and comorbidity differences, the intervention group was found to have an adjusted hazard ratio of 0.52 (p<0.0001). No statistical significance was found between the intervened and control groups for admission to hospital, admission to intensive care unit (ICU) and use of mechanical ventilation. The intervention group had a lower median C-reactive protein (CRP) level on admission (p=0.03). After adjustment for admission CRP levels, elevated CRP was associated with an increased mortality (p<0.0001), while the statistical significance in mortality between the intervention and the control group was lost. CONCLUSIONS: High-risk COVID-19 patients who used a pulse oximeter to monitor oxygen saturation levels had significantly lower mortality rates compared with other high-risk patients. The mortality benefit may be explained by earlier presentation to hospital, as suggested by lower initial CRP levels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/physiopathology , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Oximetry/methods , Adult , C-Reactive Protein/metabolism , COVID-19/mortality , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Male , Middle Aged , Respiration, Artificial/statistics & numerical data , Retrospective Studies , Severity of Illness Index , South Africa
8.
Afr J Thorac Crit Care Med ; 26(3)2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1395251

ABSTRACT

Asthmatics do not appear to have increased susceptibility to COVID-19.Uncontrolled severe asthma may be associated with worsened COVID-19 outcomes, especially in asthmatics managed with oral corticosteroids. Risk mitigation measures such as hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing of face masks must be observed at all times. Asthma should be managed as outlined in local and international guidelines.Ensure an adequate supply of medication, and inhaled corticosteroids should not be withdrawnChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is associated with severe COVID-19 disease and poor outcomes. Maintenance of background medication is important to avoid exacerbations of COPD.Vaccination against influenza is strongly advised for all patients with asthma and COPDVaccination against pneumococcal infection is advisable for patients with COPD. Patients with obstructive airway disease on oral corticosteroids and/or with impaired lung function should take stringent safety precautions. This statement will be updated when more data become available Asthma and COPD occur commonly in South Africa. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus, which can result in COVID-19-associated severe respiratory infection with respiratory failure and the need for mechanical ventilation. The South African Thoracic Society has prepared a guidance statement to assist clinicians and patients with asthma and COPD during the current epidemic.

9.
Afr J Thorac Crit Care Med ; 26(3)2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1302744

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pneumonia, much like that of bacterial and viral community-acquired pneumonia before it, is accompanied by a high rate of cardio- and cerebrovascular events that are associated with an increased risk of complications and a greater mortality. Although the mechanisms underlying the pathogenesis of these adverse events are not entirely clear and may be multifactorial, platelets appear to have a prominent aetiologic role and this, together with an overview of the clinical evidence, forms the basis of this short review.

10.
Afr J Thorac Crit Care Med ; 26(3)2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1302743

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is continuing relentlessly in many parts of the world and has resulted in the outpouring of literature on various aspects of the infection, including studies and recommendations regarding the optimal treatment of infected patients. Not surprisingly, the use of corticosteroids in the management of such patients has featured prominently in many of these publications. There is considerable debate in the literature as to the likely benefits, as well as the potential detrimental effects of corticosteroid therapy in general viral respiratory infections and, in particular, COVID-19 infections. While the definitive answer may need to await the results of ongoing randomised, controlled trials recent studies suggest that corticosteroid use in COVID-19 cases with hypoxaemia may benefit from low-dose corticosteroid therapy.

11.
Afr J Thorac Crit Care Med ; 26(2)2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1302742

ABSTRACT

Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) remains a global health problem with significant morbidity and mortality. Much recent published literature about the infection has indicated that a substantial number of patients with CAP, particularly those ill enough to be admitted to hospital, will suffer a cardiovascular event. While these may include events such as deep venous thrombosis and stroke, most of the events involve the heart and include the occurrence of an arrhythmia (most commonly atrial fibrillation), new onset or worsening of heart failure and acute myocardial infarction. While such cardiac events may occur, for example, in all-cause CAP and CAP due to influenza virus infection, and more recently described with the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, a significant amount of research work has been investigating the pathogenic mechanisms of these cardiac events in patients with CAP due to Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus) and, more recently, COVID-19 infections. Such research has identified a number of mechanisms by which these microorganisms may cause cardiovascular events. Importantly, these cardiac events appear not only to be associated with in-hospital mortality, but they also appear to contribute to longer-term mortality of patients with CAP, even after their discharge from hospital. This review will focus initially on studies of cardiovascular events in all-cause CAP and pneumococcal CAP, excluding COVID-19 infection, and then address similar issues in the latter infection.

15.
Compend Contin Educ Dent ; 42(6):"290-296, 2021.
Article in English | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-1250407

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new and demanding work environment for health professionals. This article will focus on the biological issues related to infection and disease, tests developed based on these biological principles, the ways in which these tests are evaluated, and how they can be used to protect both patients, dental professionals, and office affiliates. The article will describe types of COVID-19 testing that may be performed in dental offices, the issue of testing and anxiety, regulations regarding testing that are relevant to dentists, rules for delivery and reimbursement, and strategies for proceeding as a health professional in the current challenging environment. The authors conclude that the devastating effects of the pandemic on public health has facilitated a new role for dentists as public health professionals, with the opportunity for the dental profession to actively expand its participation in improving the health of the public moving forward. Testing will continue as a means of relieving anxiety for the public.

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