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BMC Med Res Methodol ; 21(1): 163, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1352644


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is currently a severe challenge for healthcare workers, with a considerable impact on their mental health. In order to focus preventive and rehabilitation measures it's fundamental to identify risk factors of such psychological impairment. We designed an observational longitudinal study to systematically examine the psychological wellbeing of all employees in a large University Hospital in Italy, using validated psychometric scales in the context of the occupational physician's health surveillance, in collaboration with Psychiatric Unit. METHODS: The study started after ethical approval in August 2020. For each worker, the psychological wellbeing is screened in two steps. The first level questionnaire collects sociodemographic characteristics, personal and occupational COVID-19 exposure, worries and concerns about COVID-19, general psychological discomfort (GHQ-12), post-traumatic stress symptoms (IES-R) and anxiety (GAD-7). Workers who score above the cut-off in at least one scale are further investigated by the second level questionnaire composed by PHQ-9, DES-II and SCL-90. If second level shows psychological impairments, we offer individual specialist treatment (third level). We plan to follow-up all subjects to monitor symptoms and possible chronicization; we aim to investigate potential risk factors through univariate analysis and multivariate logistic regressions. RESULTS: Preliminary results refer to a sample of 550 workers who completed the multi-step evaluation from August to December 2020, before vaccination campaign started. The participation rate was 90%. At first level screening, 39% of the subjects expressed general psychological discomfort (GHQ-12), 22% post-traumatic stress symptoms (IES-R), and 21% symptoms of anxiety (GAD-7). Women, nurses, younger workers, subjects with COVID-19 working exposure and with an infected family member showed significantly higher psychological impairment compared to colleagues. After the second level screening, 12% and 7% of all workers showed, respectively, depressive and dissociative symptoms; scorings were significantly associated with gender and occupational role. We are currently extending sample size and evaluating subjects over a period of further 12 months. CONCLUSIONS: The possibility to perform a systematic follow-up of psychological wellbeing of all hospital workers, directly or indirectly exposed to pandemic consequences, constitutes a unique condition to detect individual, occupational, and non-occupational risk factors for psychological impairment in situations of prolonged stress, as well as variables associated with symptoms chronicization.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Anxiety/diagnosis , Anxiety/epidemiology , Depression , Female , Health Personnel , Hospitals, University , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Mental Health , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 26(10): 1413.e9-1413.e13, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-636205


OBJECTIVES: The management of healthcare workers (HCWs) exposed to confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is still a matter of debate. We aimed to assess in this group the attack rate of asymptomatic carriers and the symptoms most frequently associated with infection. METHODS: Occupational and clinical characteristics of HCWs who underwent nasopharyngeal swab testing for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in a university hospital from 24 February 2020 to 31 March 2020 were collected. For those who tested positive and for those who tested positive but who were asymptomatic, we checked the laboratory and clinical data as of 22 May to calculate the time necessary for HCWs to then test negative and to verify whether symptoms developed thereafter. Frequencies of positive tests were compared according to selected variables using multivariable logistic regression models. RESULTS: There were 139 positive tests (8.8%) among 1573 HCWs (95% confidence interval, 7.5-10.3), with a marked difference between symptomatic (122/503, 24.2%) and asymptomatic (17/1070, 1.6%) workers (p < 0.001). Physicians were the group with the highest frequency of positive tests (61/582, 10.5%), whereas clerical workers and technicians had the lowest frequency (5/137, 3.6%). The likelihood of testing positive for COVID-19 increased with the number of reported symptoms; the strongest predictors of test positivity were taste and smell alterations (odds ratio = 76.9) and fever (odds ratio = 9.12). The median time from first positive test to a negative test was 27 days (95% confidence interval, 24-30). CONCLUSIONS: HCWs can be infected with SARS-CoV-2 without displaying any symptoms. Among symptomatic HCWs, the key symptoms to guide diagnosis are taste and smell alterations and fever. A median of almost 4 weeks is necessary before nasopharyngeal swab test results are negative.

Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Fever/diagnosis , Fever/epidemiology , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional , Olfaction Disorders/diagnosis , Olfaction Disorders/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Adult , Asymptomatic Diseases , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Convalescence , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Female , Fever/physiopathology , Fever/virology , Health Personnel , Hospitals, University , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Olfaction Disorders/physiopathology , Olfaction Disorders/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Prognosis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2