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1.
Euro Surveill ; 27(11)2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753317

ABSTRACT

BackgroundSARS-CoV-2 infections in preschool and school settings potentially bear occupational risks to educational staff.AimWe aimed to assess the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in teachers and preschool educators and at identifying factors associated with infection.MethodsWe analysed cross-sectional data derived from 17,448 voluntary, PCR-based screening tests of asymptomatic educational staff in Berlin, Germany, between June and December 2020 using descriptive statistics and a logistic regression model.ResultsParticipants were largely female (73.0%), and median age was 41 years (range: 18-78). Overall, SARS-CoV-2 infection proportion was 1.2% (95% CI: 1.0-1.4). Proportion of positive tests in educational staff largely followed community incidence until the start of the second pandemic wave, when an unsteady plateau was reached. Then, the proportion of positive tests in a (concurrent) population survey was 0.9% (95% CI: 0.6-1.4), 1.2% (95% CI: 0.8-1.8) in teachers and 2.6% (95% CI: 1.6-4.0) in preschool educators. Compared with teachers, increased odds of infection were conferred by being a preschool educator (adjusted odds ratio (aOR): 1.6; 95% CI: 1.3-2.0) and by contact with a SARS-CoV-2 infected individual outside of work (aOR: 3.0; 95% CI: 1.5-5.5). In a step-wise backward selection, the best set of associated factors with SARS-CoV-2 infection involved age, occupation, and calendar week.ConclusionsThese results indicate that preschool educators bear increased odds of SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with teachers. At the same time, the private environment appeared to be a relevant source of SARS-CoV-2 infection for educational staff in 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Berlin/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
2.
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
5.
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
6.
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
7.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(15)2021 Jul 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1325661

ABSTRACT

Limited research exists on pregnant women's knowledge, attitudes, and behavior concerning COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa. We performed a cross-sectional study among 648 pregnant women in Fort Portal, Uganda, after the first lockdown starting in June 2020. Structured interviews were conducted at three different facilities during routine antenatal care, assessing sociodemographic background, knowledge of COVID-19, prevention behavior adherence, and psycho-emotional stress levels. We performed descriptive analyses and examined associated factors using multivariable logistic regression. In Fort Portal Region, 32.8% of pregnant women had a higher knowledge regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, while all women at least heard of COVID-19. 88.6% of the women showed low self-reported prevention behavior adherence. More than one third of the pregnant women experienced high psycho-emotional stress related to the pandemic (39.8%). The odds for psycho-emotional stress were increased among the age group 21-30 years (AOR 1.97; 95% CI 1.18-3.35) compared to women under the age of 21, and decreased in single or divorced women compared to women in partnerships (AOR 0.42; 0.22-0.77) and in women having less COVID-19-related knowledge (AOR 0.40; 0.27-0.58). In conclusion, prevention behavior adherence seemed challenging, and psycho-emotional stress was ubiquitous among our cohort. To avoid adverse consequences in maternal and neonatal health, campaigns for hygiene but also women's emotional state should be a major focus of community healthcare in exceptional times such as the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pregnant Women , Adult , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Infant, Newborn , Pandemics , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Uganda/epidemiology , Young Adult
8.
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
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