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J Clin Med ; 10(18)2021 Sep 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1409883


BACKGROUND: Long COVID is a syndrome characterized by the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 infection symptoms. Among HCWs, prolonged COVID symptoms could lead to the inability to perform work tasks. The aim of this study is to investigate 35-day long-COVID (35-LC) characteristics and risk factors in a one-year period. METHODS: We carried out a retrospective cohort study during the COVID-19 pandemic at University Hospital of Bari. A total of 5750 HCWs were tested for close contact with a confirmed case, in the absence of personal protective equipment, or for symptom development. RESULTS: Each positive HCW was investigated for cardiovascular risk factors or respiratory diseases. An amount of 352 HCWs (6.1%) were infected by SARS-CoV-2, and 168 cases evolved to long COVID. The 35-LC group showed mean BMI values higher than the non-35-LC group (25.9 kg/m2 vs. 24.8 kg/m2, respectively), and this difference was significant (p-value: 0.020). Moreover, HCWs who suffered from pulmonary disease (OR = 3.7, CL 95%: 1.35-10.53; p-value = 0.007) or overweight (OR = 1.6 CL 95%: 1.05-2.56; p-value = 0.029) had an increased risk of developing 35-LC. CONCLUSIONS: Long COVID is an emerging problem for hospital managers as it may reduce the number of HCWs deployed in the fight against COVID-19. High BMI and previous pulmonary disease could be risk factors for 35-LC development in exposed HCWs.

Environ Res ; 195: 110793, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1051629


BACKGROUND: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are highly exposed to SARS-CoV-2 infection given their specific tasks. The IgG-IgM serological assay has demonstrated good accuracy in early detection in symptomatic patients, but its role in the diagnosis of asymptomatic patients is uncertain. The aim of our study was to assess IgM and IgG prevalence in sera in a large cohort of HCWs previously subjected to Nasopharyngeal swab test (NST) after accurate risk assessment due to positive COVID-19 patient exposure during an observation period of 90 days. METHODS: 2407 asymptomatic HCWs that had close contact with COVID-19 patients in the period between April 8th and June 7th were screened with NST based on the RT-PCR method. In parallel, they underwent large-scale chemiluminescence immunoassays involving IgM-IgG serological screening to determine actual viral spread in the same cohort. RESULTS: During the 90-day observation period, 18 workers (0.75%) resulted positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection at the NST, whereas the positivity rates for IgM and IgG were 11.51% and 2.37%, respectively (277 workers). Despite high specificity, serological tests were inadequate for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with previous positive NST results (IgM and IgG sensitivities of 27.78% and 50.00%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: These findings indicate a widespread low viral load of SARS-CoV-2 among hospital workers. However, serological screening showed very low sensitivity with respect to NST in identifying infected workers, and negative IgG and IgM results should not exclude the diagnosis of COVID-19. IgG-IgM chemiluminescence immunoassays could increase the diagnosis of COVID-19 only in association with NST, and this association is considered helpful for decision-making regarding returning to work.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Italy/epidemiology , Prevalence , Public Health , Sensitivity and Specificity
Int J Infect Dis ; 102: 532-537, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-907182


OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among exposed healthcare workers (HCWs) after preventive protocol implementation. METHODS: A total of 5750 HCWs were included in the study. Those in contact with COVID-19 patients were allocated into a high-risk or a low-risk group based on contact type (PPE- or non-PPE-protected); high-risk workers underwent nasopharyngeal swab tests, while among low-risk workers, swab tests were carried out only for symptomatic workers (active surveillance). The prevalence was determined by real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction on nasopharyngeal samples. RESULTS: 3570 HCWs had contact with 1065 COVID-19 patients. Among them, 3494 were subjected to active surveillance (low-risk group); 2886 (82.60%) were subjected to a swab test; and 15 were positive (0.52%). Seventy-six HCWs (2.13% of exposed) were included in the high-risk group, and a swab test was mandatory for each participant. Overall, 66 (86.84% of high-risk) were negative, and 10 were positive (13.16%), resulting in a higher risk of infection than in the low-risk group [OR = 29.00; 95% CI:12.56-66.94; p < 0.0001]. CONCLUSION: To date, the SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence is 0.70% among exposed HCWs and 0.435% among all HCWs working at the examined university hospital. The correct use of PPE and the early identification of symptomatic workers are essential factors to avoiding nosocomial clusters.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Cross Infection/transmission , Cross Infection/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Frail Elderly/statistics & numerical data , Hospitals, University/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Prevalence , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/physiology