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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305023

ABSTRACT

Background: The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about widespread infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings. In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) initiated prospective national surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in primary schools across England (sKIDs). We used this opportunity to assess the feasibility and agreeability of large-scale surveillance and testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in school among staff, parents and students.Methods: Staff and students in 131 primary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire at recruitment and provide weekly nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing (n=86) or swabs with blood samples for antibody testing (n=45) at the beginning and end the summer half-term. In six blood sampling schools, students were asked to complete a pictorial questionnaire before and after their investigations.Results: In total, 134 children aged 4-7 years (n=40) or 8-11 years (n=95) completed the pictorial questionnaire fully or partially. Prior to sampling, oral fluid sampling was the most acceptable test (107/132, 81%) followed by throat swabs (80/134, 59%), nose swabs (77/132, 58%), and blood tests (48/130, 37%). Younger students were more nervous about all tests than older students but, after completing their tests, most children reported a “better than expected” experience with all the investigations. Students were more likely to agree to additional testing for nose swabs (93/113, 82%) and oral fluid (93/114, 82%), followed by throat swabs (85/113, 75%) and blood tests (72/108, 67%). Parents (n=3,994) and staff (n=2,580) selected a preference for weekly testing with nose swabs, throat swabs or oral fluid sampling, although staff were more flexible about testing frequency. Conclusions: Primary school staff and parents were supportive of regular tests for SARS-CoV-2 and selected a preference for weekly testing. Children preferred nose swabs and oral fluids over throat swabs or blood sampling.Funding Statement: This surveillance was internally funded by PHE and did not receive any specific grant funding from agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.Declaration of Interests: None.Ethics Approval Statement: PHE has legal permission, provided by Regulation 3 of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002, to process patient confidential information for national surveillance of communicable diseases and as such, individual patient consent is not required.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322075

ABSTRACT

Introduction: We describe post-COVID symptomatology in a national sample of 11-17-year-old children and young people (CYP) with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to test-negative controls. Methods: and analysis: A cohort study of test-positive (n=3,065) and age-, sex- and geographically-matched test-negative CYP (n=3,739) completed detailed questionnaires 3 months post-test. Results: At PCR-testing, 35.4% of test-positives and 8.3% of test-negatives had any symptoms whilst 30.6% and 6.2%, respectively, had 3+ symptoms. At 3 months post-testing, 66.5% of test-positives and 53.3% of test-negatives had any symptoms, whilst 30.3% and 16.2%, respectively, had 3+ symptoms. Latent class analysis identified two classes, characterised by “few” or “multiple” symptoms. This latter class was more frequent among test-positives, females, older CYP and those with worse pre-test physical and mental health. Discussion: Test-positive CYP had a similar symptom profile to test-negative CYP but with higher prevalence of single and, particularly, multiple symptoms at PCR-testing and 3 months later.

3.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327507

ABSTRACT

Background University students are a critical group for vaccination programmes against COVID-19, meningococcal disease (MenACWY), and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). We aimed to evaluate risk factors for vaccine hesitancy (refusal or intention to refuse a vaccine) and views of university students about on-campus vaccine delivery. Methods Cross-sectional anonymous online questionnaire study of undergraduate students at a British university in June 2021. Chi-squared, Fisher’s exact, univariate and multivariate tests were applied to detect associations. Results Complete data were obtained from 827 participants (7.6% response-rate). Two-thirds (64%;527/827) reported having been vaccinated against COVID-19 and a further 23% (194/827) agreed to be vaccinated. Other responses were either unclear (66) or indicated an intention to refuse vaccination (40). Hesitancy for COVID-19 vaccines was 5% (40/761). COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy was associated with black ethnicity (aOR, 7.01, 95% CI, 1.8-27.3) and concerns about vaccine side-effects (aOR, 1.72;95% CI, 1.23-2.39). Lower levels of vaccine hesitancy were detected amongst students living in private accommodation (aOR, 0.13;95% CI, 0.04-0.38) compared to those living at home. Uncertainty about their personal vaccine status was frequently observed for MMR (11%) and MenACWY (26%) vaccines. Campus-associated COVID-19 vaccine campaigns were definitely (45%) or somewhat (16%) favoured by UK-based students and more so among UK-based international students (62% and 12%, respectively). Conclusions Vaccine hesitancy among students of black ethnicity and those living at home requires further exploration because attitudes in these groups may affect COVID-19 vaccine uptake. High levels of uncertainty among students about their MMR and MenACWY vaccine status are also a concern for the effectiveness of these vaccine programmes. This issue could be tackled by extending the capabilities of digital platforms for accessing vaccine information, such as the NHSapp in the UK. Sector-wide implementation of on-campus vaccine delivery may also improve vaccine uptake, especially for international students.

4.
Lancet Child Adolesc Health ; 6(4): 230-239, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671374

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We describe post-COVID symptomatology in a non-hospitalised, national sample of adolescents aged 11-17 years with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with matched adolescents with negative PCR status. METHODS: In this national cohort study, adolescents aged 11-17 years from the Public Health England database who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 between January and March, 2021, were matched by month of test, age, sex, and geographical region to adolescents who tested negative. 3 months after testing, a subsample of adolescents were contacted to complete a detailed questionnaire, which collected data on demographics and their physical and mental health at the time of PCR testing (retrospectively) and at the time of completing the questionnaire (prospectively). We compared symptoms between the test-postive and test-negative groups, and used latent class analysis to assess whether and how physical symptoms at baseline and at 3 months clustered among participants. This study is registered with the ISRCTN registry (ISRCTN 34804192). FINDINGS: 23 048 adolescents who tested positive and 27 798 adolescents who tested negative between Jan 1, 2021, and March 31, 2021, were contacted, and 6804 adolescents (3065 who tested positive and 3739 who tested negative) completed the questionnaire (response rate 13·4%). At PCR testing, 1084 (35·4%) who tested positive and 309 (8·3%) who tested negative were symptomatic and 936 (30·5%) from the test-positive group and 231 (6·2%) from the test-negative group had three or more symptoms. 3 months after testing, 2038 (66·5%) who tested positive and 1993 (53·3%) who tested negative had any symptoms, and 928 (30·3%) from the test-positive group and 603 (16·2%) from the test-negative group had three or more symptoms. At 3 months after testing, the most common symptoms among the test-positive group were tiredness (1196 [39·0%]), headache (710 [23·2%]), and shortness of breath (717 [23·4%]), and among the test-negative group were tiredness (911 [24·4%]), headache (530 [14·2%]), and other (unspecified; 590 [15·8%]). Latent class analysis identified two classes, characterised by few or multiple symptoms. The estimated probability of being in the multiple symptom class was 29·6% (95% CI 27·4-31·7) for the test-positive group and 19·3% (17·7-21·0) for the test-negative group (risk ratio 1·53; 95% CI 1·35-1·70). The multiple symptoms class was more frequent among those with positive PCR results than negative results, in girls than boys, in adolescents aged 15-17 years than those aged 11-14 years, and in those with lower pretest physical and mental health. INTERPRETATION: Adolescents who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 had similar symptoms to those who tested negative, but had a higher prevalence of single and, particularly, multiple symptoms at the time of PCR testing and 3 months later. Clinicians should consider multiple symptoms that affect functioning and recognise different clusters of symptoms. The multiple and varied symptoms show that a multicomponent intervention will be required, and that mental and physical health symptoms occur concurrently, reflecting their close relationship. FUNDING: UK Department of Health and Social Care, in their capacity as the National Institute for Health Research, and UK Research and Innovation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Adolescent , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/psychology , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Surveys and Questionnaires
5.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294092

ABSTRACT

Background Most individuals with COVID-19 will recover without sequelae, but some will develop long- term multi-system impairments. The definition, duration, prevalence and symptoms associated with long COVID, however, have not been established. Methods Public Health England (PHE) initiated longitudinal surveillance of clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers for monthly blood sampling for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in March 2020. Eight months after enrolment, participants completed an online questionnaire including 72 symptoms in the preceding month. Symptomatic mild-to-moderate cases with confirmed COVID-19 were compared with asymptomatic, seronegative controls. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent symptoms associated with long COVID. Results All 2,147 participants were contacted and 1,671 (77.8%) completed the questionnaire, including 140 (8.4%) cases and 1,160 controls. At a median of 7.5 (IQR 7.1-7.8) months after infection, 20 cases (14.3%) had ongoing (4/140, 2.9%) or episodic (16/140, 11.4%) symptoms. We identified three clusters of symptoms associated with long COVID, those affecting the sensory (ageusia, anosmia, loss of appetite and blurred vision), neurological (forgetfulness, short-term memory loss and confusion/brain fog) and cardiorespiratory (chest tightness/pain, unusual fatigue, breathlessness after minimal exertion/at rest, palpitations) systems. The sensory cluster had the highest association with being a case (aOR 5.25, 95% CI 3.45-8.01). Dermatological, gynaecological, gastrointestinal or mental health symptoms were not significantly different between cases and controls. Conclusions Most persistent symptoms reported following mild COVID-19 were equally common in cases and controls. While all three clusters identified had a strong association with previous COVID-19 infection, the sensory cluster had the highest specificity and strength of association. Key points Compared to controls, we identified three clusters of symptoms affecting the sensory, neurological and cardiorespiratory systems that were more prevalent among cases. Notably, gastrointestinal and dermatological symptoms and symptoms related to mental health were as prevalent among cases as controls.

6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545921

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most children recover quickly after COVID-19, but some may have on-going symptoms. Follow-up studies have been limited by small sample sizes and lack of appropriate controls. METHODS: We used national testing data to identify children aged 2-16 years with a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test during 01-07 January 2021 and randomly selected1,500 PCR-positive cases and 1,500 matched PCR-negative controls. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire about the acute illness and pre-specified neurological, dermatological, sensory, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, mental health (including emotional and behavioural well-being) and other symptoms experienced at least five times at one month after the PCR test. RESULTS: Overall, 35.0% (859/2456) completed the questionnaire, including 38.0% (472/1242) cases and 32% (387/1214) controls. of whom 68% (320/472) and 40% (154/387) were symptomatic, respectively. The most prevalent acute symptoms were cough (249 /859, 29.0%), fever (236/859, 27.5%), headache (236/859, 27.4%) and fatigue (231/859, 26.9%). One month later, 21/320 (6.7%) of symptomatic cases and 6/154 (4.2%) of symptomatic controls (p=0.24) experienced on-going symptoms. Of the 65 on-going symptoms solicited, three clusters were significantly (p<0.05) more common, albeit at low prevalence, among symptomatic cases (3-7%) than symptomatic controls (0-3: neurological, sensory and emotional and behavioural wellbeing. Mental health symptoms were reported by all groups but more frequently among symptomatic cases than symptomatic controls or asymptomatic children. CONCLUSIONS: Children with symptomatic COVID-19 had a slightly higher prevalence of on-going symptoms than symptomatic controls, and not as high as previously reported. Healthcare resources should be prioritised to support the mental health of children.

7.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 2(12): e811-e819, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541059

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding the duration of protection and risk of reinfection after natural infection is crucial to planning COVID-19 vaccination for at-risk groups, including care home residents, particularly with the emergence of more transmissible variants. We report on the duration, neutralising activity, and protection against the alpha variant of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection in care home residents and staff infected more than 6 months previously. METHODS: We did this prospective observational cohort surveillance in 13 care homes in Greater London, England. All staff and residents were included. Staff and residents had regular nose and throat screening for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR according to national guidelines, with ad hoc testing of symptomatic individuals. From January, 2021, antigen lateral flow devices were also used, but positive tests still required RT-PCR confirmation. Staff members took the swab samples for themselves and the residents. The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive primary infection or reinfection in previously infected individuals, as determined by previous serological testing and screening or diagnostic RT-PCR results. Poisson regression and Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate protective effectiveness of previous exposure. SARS-CoV-2 spike, nucleoprotein, and neutralising antibodies were assessed at multiple timepoints as part of the longitudinal follow-up. FINDINGS: Between April 10 and Aug 3, 2020, we recruited and tested 1625 individuals (933 staff and 692 residents). 248 participants were lost to follow-up (123 staff and 125 residents) and 1377 participants were included in the follow-up period to Jan 31, 2021 (810 staff and 567 residents). There were 23 reinfections (ten confirmed, eight probable, five possible) in 656 previously infected individuals (366 staff and 290 residents), compared with 165 primary infections in 721 susceptible individuals (444 staff and 277 residents). Those with confirmed reinfections had no or low neutralising antibody concentration before reinfection, with boosting of titres after reinfection. Kinetics of binding and neutralising antibodies were similar in older residents and younger staff. INTERPRETATION: SARS-CoV-2 reinfections were rare in older residents and younger staff. Protection from SARS-CoV-2 was sustained for longer than 9 months, including against the alpha variant. Reinfection was associated with no or low neutralising antibody before reinfection, but significant boosting occurred on reinfection. FUNDING: Public Health England.

8.
BMJ Open ; 11(8): e052838, 2021 08 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376511

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: There is uncertainty surrounding the diagnosis, prevalence, phenotype, duration and treatment of Long COVID. This study aims to (A) describe the clinical phenotype of post-COVID symptomatology in children and young people (CYP) with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with test-negative controls, (B) produce an operational definition of Long COVID in CYP, and (C) establish its prevalence in CYP. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A cohort study of SARS-CoV-2-positive CYP aged 11-17 years compared with age, sex and geographically matched SARS-CoV-2 test-negative CYP. CYP aged 11-17 testing positive and negative for SARS-CoV-2 infection will be identified and contacted 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after the test date. Consenting CYP will complete an online questionnaire. We initially planned to recruit 3000 test positives and 3000 test negatives but have since extended our target. Data visualisation techniques will be used to examine trajectories over time for symptoms and variables measured repeatedly, separately by original test status. Summary measures of fatigue and mental health dimensions will be generated using dimension reduction methods such as latent variables/latent class/principal component analysis methods. Cross-tabulation of collected and derived variables against test status and discriminant analysis will help operationalise preliminary definitions of Long COVID. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Research Ethics Committee approval granted. Data will be stored in secure Public Health England servers or University College London's Data Safe Haven. Risks of harm will be minimised by providing information on where to seek support. Results will be published on a preprint server followed by journal publication, with reuse of articles under a CC BY licence. Data will be published with protection against identification when there are small frequencies involved. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN34804192; Pre-results.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , COVID-19/complications , Child , Cohort Studies , Humans , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2
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