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1.
Euro Surveill ; 26(43)2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1547185

ABSTRACT

BackgroundIn the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, viral genomes are available at unprecedented speed, but spatio-temporal bias in genome sequence sampling precludes phylogeographical inference without additional contextual data.AimWe applied genomic epidemiology to trace SARS-CoV-2 spread on an international, national and local level, to illustrate how transmission chains can be resolved to the level of a single event and single person using integrated sequence data and spatio-temporal metadata.MethodsWe investigated 289 COVID-19 cases at a university hospital in Munich, Germany, between 29 February and 27 May 2020. Using the ARTIC protocol, we obtained near full-length viral genomes from 174 SARS-CoV-2-positive respiratory samples. Phylogenetic analyses using the Auspice software were employed in combination with anamnestic reporting of travel history, interpersonal interactions and perceived high-risk exposures among patients and healthcare workers to characterise cluster outbreaks and establish likely scenarios and timelines of transmission.ResultsWe identified multiple independent introductions in the Munich Metropolitan Region during the first weeks of the first pandemic wave, mainly by travellers returning from popular skiing areas in the Alps. In these early weeks, the rate of presumable hospital-acquired infections among patients and in particular healthcare workers was high (9.6% and 54%, respectively) and we illustrated how transmission chains can be dissected at high resolution combining virus sequences and spatio-temporal networks of human interactions.ConclusionsEarly spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Europe was catalysed by superspreading events and regional hotspots during the winter holiday season. Genomic epidemiology can be employed to trace viral spread and inform effective containment strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Germany/epidemiology , Hospitals , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e3055-e3065, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501051

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: High infection rates among healthcare personnel in an uncontained pandemic can paralyze health systems due to staff shortages. Risk constellations and rates of seroconversion for healthcare workers (HCWs) during the first wave of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic are still largely unclear. METHODS: Healthcare personnel (n = 300) on different organizational units in the LMU Munich University Hospital were included and followed in this prospective longitudinal study from 24 March until 7 July 2020. Participants were monitored in intervals of 2 to 6 weeks using different antibody assays for serological testing and questionnaires to evaluate risk contacts. In a subgroup of infected participants, we obtained nasopharyngeal swabs to perform whole-genome sequencing for outbreak characterization. RESULTS: HCWs involved in patient care on dedicated coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) wards or on regular non-COVID-19 wards showed a higher rate of SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion than staff in the emergency department and non-frontline personnel. The landscape of risk contacts in these units was dynamic, with a decrease in unprotected risk contacts in the emergency department and an increase on non-COVID-19 wards. Both intensity and number of risk contacts were associated with higher rates of seroconversion. On regular wards, staff infections tended to occur in clusters, while infections on COVID-19 wards were less frequent and apparently independent of each other. CONCLUSIONS: Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection for frontline HCWs was increased during the first pandemic wave in southern Germany. Stringent measures for infection control are essential to protect all patient-facing staff during the ongoing pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Germany/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Hospitals, University , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Pandemics , Prospective Studies
3.
Infection ; 2021 Aug 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351389

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To determine risk factors for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in healthcare workers (HCWs), characterize symptoms, and evaluate preventive measures against SARS-CoV-2 spread in hospitals. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study conducted between May 27 and August 12, 2020, after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, we obtained serological, epidemiological, occupational as well as COVID-19-related data at a quaternary care, multicenter hospital in Munich, Germany. RESULTS: 7554 HCWs participated, 2.2% of whom tested positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Multivariate analysis revealed increased COVID-19 risk for nurses (3.1% seropositivity, 95% CI 2.5-3.9%, p = 0.012), staff working on COVID-19 units (4.6% seropositivity, 95% CI 3.2-6.5%, p = 0.032), males (2.4% seropositivity, 95% CI 1.8-3.2%, p = 0.019), and HCWs reporting high-risk exposures to infected patients (5.5% seropositivity, 95% CI 4.0-7.5%, p = 0.0022) or outside of work (12.0% seropositivity, 95% CI 8.0-17.4%, p < 0.0001). Smoking was a protective factor (1.1% seropositivity, 95% CI 0.7-1.8% p = 0.00018) and the symptom taste disorder was strongly associated with COVID-19 (29.8% seropositivity, 95% CI 24.3-35.8%, p < 0.0001). An unbiased decision tree identified subgroups with different risk profiles. Working from home as a preventive measure did not protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection. A PCR-testing strategy focused on symptoms and high-risk exposures detected all larger COVID-19 outbreaks. CONCLUSION: Awareness of the identified COVID-19 risk factors and successful surveillance strategies are key to protecting HCWs against SARS-CoV-2, especially in settings with limited vaccination capacities or reduced vaccine efficacy.

4.
Radiat Oncol ; 15(1): 165, 2020 Jul 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-637845

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Starting in December 2019, the current pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) confronts the world with an unprecedented challenge. With no vaccine or drug being currently available to control the pandemic spread, prevention and PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) testing becomes a crucial pillar of medical systems. Aim of the present study was to report on the first results of the measures taken in a large German Department of Radiation Oncology, including PCR testing of asymptomatic cancer patients. METHODS: Pandemic-adapted hygiene regulations and prevention measures for patients and staff were implemented. A visiting ban on both wards was implemented from the beginning and medical staff and patients were required to wear face masks at all times. The waiting rooms were rearranged to ensure distance between patients of at least 1.5 m. Clinical follow up was mainly done by telephone and all patients had to complete a questionnaire regarding symptoms and contacts with COVID-19 patients before entering our department. Educational documents were created for patients to raise awareness of symptoms and avoidance strategies for interactions with other people. Indications for therapy and fractionation schemes were adapted when possible. In a subsequent step, all new asymptomatic patients were tested via nasopharyngeal swab at our screening station shortly before their simulation CT. RESULTS: All these measures and implementations have been well accepted semiquantitatively measured by the consent received from patients and staff. Regarding the PCR testing, only 1 out of 139 asymptomatic patients of our cohort so far tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, reflecting a prevalence of 0.72% in this cancer patient population. Up to this point no staff members was tested positive. The start of the treatment for the PCR-positive patient was deferred for 2 weeks. CONCLUSION: Due to the pandemic-adapted implementations, our department seems well prepared during this crisis. The initial screening helps to identify asymptomatic COVID-19 patients in order to protect other patients and our staff from infection and the observed PCR prevalence is in line with comparable studies. A regular PCR testing (e.g. twice a week) of all patients and staff would in principle be desirable but is limited due to testing capacities at present.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Neoplasms/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Carrier State , Cohort Studies , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Clin Oral Investig ; 24(8): 2931-2941, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-619110

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The corona disease (COVID-19) is developing into one of the greatest challenges for healthcare professionals around the world. In this article, we report the detailed actions taken in the Department of Conservative Dentistry and Periodontology, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU), Munich, Germany, during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. MATERIAL AND METHODS: After a joint on-site inspection of the dental clinic with the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, existing clinical and hygiene protocols were adapted for COVID-19 patients. RESULTS: A comprehensive summary of the preparation of the facilities as well as pre- treatment, treatment and posttreatment protocols are described and arising problems are being discussed. CONCLUSIONS: The importance of rigorous hygiene and treatment protocols as well as a sufficient supply of PPE for dental offices and hospitals is highlighted. The measures reported may be subject to change due to the dynamics of the pandemic. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The modes of transmission of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (e.g., droplets, aerosols, and fomites) can pose a risk for dental healthcare professionals and patients alike. The presented measures may guide dental faculties and dental practices during the early stage of the COVID-19 crisis.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections , Dentistry , Disease Outbreaks , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , COVID-19 , Germany , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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