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1.
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
2.
Front Pediatr ; 9: 694963, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1413885

ABSTRACT

Background: In Germany, so far the COVID-19 pandemic evolved in two distinct waves, the first beginning in February and the second in July, 2020. The Berlin University Children's Hospital at Charité (BCH) had to ensure treatment for children not infected and infected with SARS-CoV-2. Prevention of nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 infection of patients and staff was a paramount goal. Pediatric hospitals worldwide discontinued elective treatments and established a centralized admission process. Methods: The response of BCH to the pandemic adapted to emerging evidence. This resulted in centralized admission via one ward exclusively dedicated to children with unclear SARS-CoV-2 status and discontinuation of elective treatment during the first wave, but maintenance of elective care and decentralized admissions during the second wave. We report numbers of patients treated and of nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 infections during the two waves of the pandemic. Results: During the first wave, weekly numbers of inpatient and outpatient cases declined by 37% (p < 0.001) and 29% (p = 0.003), respectively. During the second wave, however, inpatient case numbers were 7% higher (p = 0.06) and outpatient case numbers only 6% lower (p = 0.25), compared to the previous year. Only a minority of inpatients were tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR (0.47% during the first, 0.63% during the second wave). No nosocomial infection of pediatric patients by SARS-CoV-2 occurred. Conclusion: In contrast to centralized admission via a ward exclusively dedicated to children with unclear SARS-CoV-2 status and discontinuation of elective treatments, maintenance of elective care and decentralized admission allowed the almost normal use of hospital resources, yet without increased risk of nosocomial infections with SARS-CoV-2. By this approach unwanted sequelae of withheld specialized pediatric non-emergency treatment to child and adolescent health may be avoided.

3.
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
4.
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
5.
Biomarkers ; 26(3): 213-220, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1030957

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the emergency department (ED) setting, rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2 is likely associated with advantages to patients and healthcare workers, for example, enabling early but rationale use of limited isolation resources. Most recently, several SARS-CoV-2 rapid point-of-care antigen tests (AGTEST) became available. There is a growing need for data regarding their clinical utility and performance in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the real life setting EDs. METHODS: We implemented AGTEST (here: Roche/SD Biosensor) in all four adult and the one paediatric EDs at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin in our diagnostic testing strategy. Test indication was limited to symptomatic suspected COVID-19 patients. Detailed written instructions on who to test were distributed and testing personnel were trained in proper specimen collection and handling. In each suspected COVID-19 patient, two sequential deep oro-nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained for viral tests. The first swab was collected for nucleic acid testing through SARS-CoV-2 real-time reverse transcriptase (rt)-PCR diagnostic panel (PCRTEST) in the central laboratory. The second swab was collected to perform the AGTEST. Analysis of routine data was prospectively planned and data were retrieved from the medical records after the inclusion period in the adult or paediatric ED. Diagnostic performance was calculated using the PCRTEST as reference standard. False negative and false positive AGTEST results were analysed individually and compared with viral concentrations derived from the calibrated PCRTEST. RESULTS: We included n = 483 patients including n = 202 from the paediatric ED. N = 10 patients had to be excluded due to missing data and finally n = 473 patients were analysed. In the adult cohort, the sensitivity of the AGTEST was 75.3 (95%CI: 65.8/83.4)% and the specificity was 100 (95%CI: 98.4/100)% with a SARS-CoV-2 prevalence of 32.8%; the positive predictive value was 100 (95%CI: 95.7/100)% and the negative predictive value 89.2 (95%CI: 84.5/93.9)%. In the paediatric cohort, the sensitivity was 72.0 (95%CI: 53.3/86.7)%, the specificity was 99.4 (95%CI:97.3/99.9)% with a prevalence of 12.4%; the positive predictive value was 94.7 (95%CI: 78.3/99.7)% and the negative predictive value was 96.2 (95%CI:92.7/98.3)%. Thus, n = 22 adult and n = 7 paediatric patients showed false negative AGTEST results and only one false positive AGTEST occurred, in the paediatric cohort. Calculated viral concentrations from the rt-PCR lay between 3.16 and 9.51 log10 RNA copies/mL buffer. All false negative patients in the adult ED cohort, who had confirmed symptom onset at least seven days earlier had less than 5 × 105 RNA copies/mL buffer. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the use of AGTEST among symptomatic patients in the emergency setting is useful for the early identification of COVID-19, but patients who test negative require confirmation by PCRTEST and must stay isolated until this result becomes available. Adult patients with a false negative AGTEST and symptom onset at least one week earlier have typically a low SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration and are likely no longer infectious.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Emergency Service, Hospital , Immunoassay/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
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