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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(1)2021 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580860

ABSTRACT

While SARS-CoV-2 infection activity in German kindergartens during the first year of the pandemic appeared to be overall low, outbreaks did occur. We retrospectively investigated an outbreak in November and December 2020 in a Berlin kindergarten participating in the Berlin Corona School and Kindergarten Study (BECOSS). Interviews were conducted with affected families regarding symptomatology, contact persons and possible sources of infection, as well as relevant information on the conditions on-site and infection prevention measures. A chronology of the outbreak was elaborated, and based on data on contacts and symptoms, we mapped the most likely chains of infection. Overall, 24 individuals, including ten educators, seven children, and seven household members, were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in a four-week time interval. Courses of infection ranged from asymptomatic to severe, with children less affected by symptoms. Viral spread within the facility seemed to occur mainly through kindergarten staff, while children primarily transmitted infections within their families. Interviewees reported that hygiene measures were not always adhered to inside the facility. To prevent outbreaks in kindergartens, especially in the light of current and newly emerging viral variants of concern, strict compliance to hygiene rules, staff vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2, and immediate reaction to suspected cases by quarantining and frequent testing seem reasonable measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Berlin , Child , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools
2.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 1241, 2021 Dec 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1571743

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Living conditions in homeless shelters facilitate the transmission of COVID-19. Social determinants and pre-existing health conditions place homeless people at increased risk of severe disease. Described outbreaks in homeless shelters resulted in high proportions of infected residents and staff members. In addition to other infection prevention strategies, regular shelter-wide (universal) testing for COVID-19 may be valuable, depending on the level of community transmission and when resources permit. METHODS: This was a prospective feasibility cohort study to evaluate universal testing for COVID-19 at a homeless shelter with 106 beds in Berlin, Germany. Co-researchers were recruited from the shelter staff. A PCR analysis of saliva or self-collected nasal/oral swab was performed weekly over a period of 3 weeks in July 2020. Acceptability and implementation barriers were analyzed by process evaluation using mixed methods including evaluation sheets, focus group discussion and a structured questionnaire. RESULTS: Ninety-three out of 124 (75%) residents were approached to participate in the study. Fifty-one out of the 93 residents (54.8%) gave written informed consent; thus 41.1% (51 out of 124) of all residents were included in the study. Among these, high retention rates (88.9-93.6%) of a weekly respiratory specimen were reached, but repeated collection attempts, as well as assistance were required. Around 48 person-hours were necessary for the sample collection including the preparation of materials. A self-collected nasal/oral swab was considered easier and more hygienic to collect than a saliva specimen. No resident was tested positive by RT-PCR. Language barriers were the main reason for non-participation. Flexibility of sample collection schedules, the use of video and audio materials, and concise written information were the main recommendations of the co-researchers for future implementation. CONCLUSIONS: Voluntary universal testing for COVID-19 is feasible in homeless shelters. Universal testing of high-risk facilities will require flexible approaches, considering the level of the community transmission, the available resources, and the local recommendations. Lack of human resources and laboratory capacity may be a major barrier for implementation of universal testing, requiring adapted approaches compared to standard individual testing. Assisted self-collection of specimens and barrier free communication may facilitate implementation in homeless shelters. Program planning must consider homeless people's needs and life situation, and guarantee confidentiality and autonomy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Homeless Persons , COVID-19 Testing , Cohort Studies , Feasibility Studies , Germany , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295947

ABSTRACT

Objective Reports of cerebral sinus and venous thrombosis (CVT) after ChAdOx1 vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 have raised safety concerns. We aimed to estimate the incidence of CVT within one month from first dose administration and the frequency of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) as the underlying mechanism after vaccination with BNT162b2, ChAdOx1, and mRNA-1273, in Germany. Methods A web-based questionnaire was e-mailed to all Departments of Neurology. We asked to report cases of CVT within one month of a COVID-19 vaccination. Other cerebral events could also be reported. Incidence rates of CVT were calculated by using official statistics of nine German States. Results A total of 45 CVT cases were reported. In addition, 9 primary ischemic strokes, 4 primary intracerebral hemorrhages, and 4 other neurological events were recorded. Of the CVT patients, 35 (77.8%) were female, and 36 (80.0%) were below the age of 60 years. Fifty-three events were observed after vaccination with ChAdOx1 (85.5%), 9 after BNT162b2 (14.5%), and none after mRNA-1273 vaccination. After 7,126,434 first vaccine doses, the incidence rate of CVT within one month from first dose administration was 6.5 (95% CI, 4.4-9.2) per 100,000 person-years for all vaccines and 17.9 (11.8-26.1) for ChAdOx1 (after 2,320,535 ChAdOx1 first doses). The adjusted incidence rate ratio was 9.68 (3.46-34.98) for ChAdOx1 compared to mRNA-based vaccines and 3.14 (1.22-10.65) for women compared to non-women. In 26/45 patients with CVT (57.8%), VITT was graded highly probable. Conclusions Given an incidence of 0.22–1.75 per 100,000 person-years for CVT in the general population, these findings point towards a higher risk for CVT after ChAdOx1 vaccination, especially for women.

6.
Euro Surveill ; 26(34)2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1417055

ABSTRACT

BackgroundSchool attendance during the COVID-19 pandemic is intensely debated.AimIn November 2020, we assessed SARS-CoV-2 infections and seroreactivity in 24 randomly selected school classes and connected households in Berlin, Germany.MethodsWe collected oro-nasopharyngeal swabs and blood samples, examining SARS-CoV-2 infection and IgG antibodies by RT-PCR and ELISA. Household members self-swabbed. We assessed individual and institutional prevention measures. Classes with SARS-CoV-2 infection and connected households were retested after 1 week.ResultsWe examined 1,119 participants, including 177 primary and 175 secondary school students, 142 staff and 625 household members. SARS-CoV-2 infection occurred in eight classes, affecting each 1-2 individuals. Infection prevalence was 2.7% (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-5.0; 9/338), 1.4% (95% CI: 0.2-5.1; 2/140), and 2.3% (95% CI: 1.3-3.8; 14/611) among students, staff and household members. Six of nine infected students were asymptomatic at testing. We detected IgG antibodies in 2.0% (95%CI: 0.8-4.1; 7/347), 1.4% (95% CI: 0.2-5.0; 2/141) and 1.4% (95% CI: 0.6-2.7; 8/576). Prevalence increased with inconsistent facemask-use in school, walking to school, and case-contacts outside school. For three of nine households with infection(s), origin in school seemed possible. After 1 week, no school-related secondary infections appeared in affected classes; the attack rate in connected households was 1.1%.ConclusionSchool attendance under rigorously implemented preventive measures seems reasonable. Balancing risks and benefits of school closures need to consider possible spill-over infection into households. Deeper insight is required into the infection risks due to being a schoolchild vs attending school.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Berlin , Cross-Sectional Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Schools
7.
Eur J Public Health ; 31(5): 1105-1107, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387873

ABSTRACT

Actual surveys in kindergartens on SARS-CoV-2 infections are rare. At the beginning of the second pandemic wave, we screened 12 randomly selected kindergartens in Berlin, Germany. A total of 720 participants (pre-school children, staff and connected household members) were briefly examined and interviewed, and SARS-CoV-2 infections and anti-SARS-Cov-2 IgG antibodies were assessed. About a quarter of the participants showed common cold-resembling symptoms. However, no SARS-CoV-2 infection was detected, and only one childcare worker showed IgG seroreactivity. Against a backdrop of increased pandemic activity in the community, this cross-sectional study does not suggest that kindergartens are silent transmission reservoirs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Berlin , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Humans
8.
Ann Neurol ; 90(4): 627-639, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1318684

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to estimate the incidence of cerebral sinus and venous thrombosis (CVT) within 1 month from first dose administration and the frequency of vaccine-induced immune thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) as the underlying mechanism after vaccination with BNT162b2, ChAdOx1, and mRNA-1273, in Germany. METHODS: A web-based questionnaire was e-mailed to all departments of neurology. We requested a report of cases of CVT occurring within 1 month of a COVID-19 vaccination. Other cerebral events could also be reported. Incidence rates of CVT were calculated by using official statistics of 9 German states. RESULTS: A total of 45 CVT cases were reported. In addition, 9 primary ischemic strokes, 4 primary intracerebral hemorrhages, and 4 other neurological events were recorded. Of the CVT patients, 35 (77.8%) were female, and 36 (80.0%) were younger than 60 years. Fifty-three events were observed after vaccination with ChAdOx1 (85.5%), 9 after BNT162b2 (14.5%) vaccination, and none after mRNA-1273 vaccination. After 7,126,434 first vaccine doses, the incidence rate of CVT within 1 month from first dose administration was 0.55 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.38-0.78) per 100,000 person-months (which corresponds to a risk of CVT within the first 31 days of 0.55 per 100,000 individuals) for all vaccines and 1.52 (95% CI = 1.00-2.21) for ChAdOx1 (after 2,320,535 ChAdOx1 first doses). The adjusted incidence rate ratio was 9.68 (95% CI = 3.46-34.98) for ChAdOx1 compared to mRNA-based vaccines and 3.14 (95% CI = 1.22-10.65) for females compared to non-females. In 26 of 45 patients with CVT (57.8%), VITT was graded highly probable. INTERPRETATION: Given an incidence of 0.02 to 0.15 per 100,000 person-months for CVT in the general population, these findings point toward a higher risk for CVT after ChAdOx1 vaccination, especially for women. ANN NEUROL 2021;90:627-639.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Intracranial Thrombosis/etiology , Venous Thrombosis/etiology , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cerebral Hemorrhage/epidemiology , Cerebral Hemorrhage/etiology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , Intracranial Thrombosis/epidemiology , Ischemic Stroke/epidemiology , Ischemic Stroke/etiology , Male , Middle Aged , Sex Factors , Surveys and Questionnaires , Venous Thrombosis/epidemiology , Young Adult
9.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(7)2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278365

ABSTRACT

Within 5 weeks in 2021, B.1.1.7 became the dominant severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 lineage at an outpatient testing site in Berlin, Germany. Compared with outpatients with wild-type virus infection, patients with B.1.1.7 had similar cycle threshold values, more frequent sore throat and travel history, and less frequent anosmia/ageusia.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Berlin , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Outpatients
10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(5)2021 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1134153

ABSTRACT

Briefly before the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Berlin, Germany, schools closed in mid-March 2020. Following re-opening, schools resumed operation at a reduced level for nine weeks. During this phase, we aimed at assessing, among students and teachers, infection status, symptoms, individual behaviour, and institutional infection prevention measures. Twenty-four primary and secondary school classes, randomly selected across Berlin, were examined. Oro-nasopharyngeal swabs and capillary blood samples were collected to determine SARS-CoV-2 infection (PCR) and specific IgG (ELISA), respectively. Medical history, household characteristics, leisure activities, fear of infection, risk perception, hand hygiene, facemask wearing, and institutional preventive measures were assessed. Descriptive analysis was performed. Among 535 participants (385 students, 150 staff), one teenager was found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2 (0.2%), and seven individuals exhibited specific IgG (1.3%). Compared to pre-pandemic times, screen time (e.g., TV, gaming, social media) increased, and the majority of primary school students reported reduced physical activity (42.2%). Fear of infection and risk perception were relatively low, acceptance of adapted health behaviors was high. In this post-lockdown period of low SARS-CoV-2 incidence in Berlin, individual and school-level infection prevention measures were largely adhered to. Nevertheless, vigilance and continued preventive measures are essential to cope with future pandemic activity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Berlin , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Perception , Schools
13.
PLoS One ; 15(8): e0236917, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696246

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The extent to which people implement government-issued protective measures is critical in preventing further spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Our study aimed to describe the public belief in the effectiveness of protective measures, the reported implementation of these measures, and to identify communication channels used to acquire information on COVID-19 in European countries during the early stage of the pandemic. METHODS AND FINDINGS: An online survey available in multiple languages was disseminated starting on March 19th, 2020. After five days, we computed descriptive statistics for countries with more than 500 respondents. Each day, we assessed enacted community containment measures by stage of stringency (I-IV). In total, 9,796 adults responded, of whom 8,611 resided in the Netherlands (stage III), 604 in Germany (stage III), and 581 in Italy (stage IV). To explore possible dynamics as containment strategies intensified, we also included 1,365 responses submitted during the following week. Participants indicated support for governmental measures related to avoiding social gatherings, selective closure of public places, and hand hygiene and respiratory measures (range for all measures: 95.0%-99.7%). Respondents from the Netherlands less frequently considered a complete social lockdown effective (59.2%), compared to respondents in Germany (76.6%) or Italy (87.2%). Italian residents applied enforced social distancing measures more frequently (range: 90.2%-99.3%, German and Dutch residents: 67.5%-97.0%) and self-initiated hygienic and social distancing behaviors (range: 36.3%-96.6%, German and Dutch residents: 28.3%-95.7%). Respondents reported being sufficiently informed about the outbreak and behaviors to avoid infection (range: 90.2%-91.1%). Information channels most commonly reported included television newspapers, official health websites, and social media. One week later, we observed no major differences in submitted responses. CONCLUSIONS: During the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, belief in the effectiveness of protective measures among survey respondents from three European countries was high and participants reported feeling sufficiently informed. In March 2020, implementation of measures differed between countries and were highest among respondents from Italy, who were subjected to the most stringent lockdown measures and greatest COVID-19 burden in Europe during this period.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Hand Disinfection , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Netherlands/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Public Opinion , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , Social Behavior , Social Media , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
14.
BMJ ; 369: m1835, 2020 May 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-260019

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To quantify the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (covid-19) on all cause mortality in Nembro, an Italian city severely affected by the covid-19 pandemic. DESIGN: Descriptive study. SETTING: Nembro, in the Bergamo province of Lombardy, northern Italy. POPULATION: Residents of Nembro. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Monthly all cause mortality between January 2012 and April 2020 (data to 11 April), number of confirmed deaths from covid-19 to 11 April 2020, and weekly absolute number of deaths between 1 January and 4 April across recent years by age group and sex. RESULTS: Nembro had 11 505 residents as of 1 January 2020. Monthly all cause mortality between January 2012 and February 2020 fluctuated around 10 per 1000 person years, with a maximum of 21.5 per 1000 person years. In March 2020, monthly all cause mortality reached a peak of 154.4 per 1000 person years. For the first 11 days in April, this rate decreased to 23.0 per 1000 person years. The observed increase in mortality was driven by the number of deaths among older people (≥65 years), especially men. From the outbreak onset until 11 April 2020, only 85 confirmed deaths from covid-19 in Nembro were recorded, corresponding to about half of the 166 deaths from all causes observed in that period. CONCLUSIONS: The study findings show how covid-19 can have a considerable impact on the health of a small community. Furthermore, the results suggest that the full implications of the covid-19 pandemic can only be completely understood if, in addition to confirmed deaths related to covid-19, consideration is also given to all cause mortality in a given region and time frame.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Mortality/trends , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Young Adult
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