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1.
BMJ Open ; 12(5): e052130, 2022 05 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1865164

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Austria, and particularly its westernmost federal state Vorarlberg, developed an extremely high incidence rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare workers (HCWs) worldwide are known to have an increased risk of contracting the disease within the working environment and, therefore, the seroprevalence in this population is of particular interest. We thus aimed to analyse SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody dynamics in Vorarlberg HCWs. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study of HCWs including testing at three different time points for the prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies specific for nucleocapsid protein (NP) and receptor-binding domain (RBD). SETTING: All five state hospitals of Vorarlberg. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 395 HCWs, enrolled in June 2020 (time point 1 (t1)), 2 months after the end of the first wave, retested between October and November at the beginning of the second wave (time point 2 (t2)) and again at the downturn of the second wave in January 2021 (time point 3 (t3)). MAIN OUTCOMES: We assessed weak and strong seropositivity and associated factors, including demographic and clinical characteristics, symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, infections verified by reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) and vaccinations. RESULTS: At t1, 3% of HCWs showed strong IgG-specific responses to either NP or RBD. At t2, the rate had increased to 4%, and at t3 to 14%. A strong response was found to be stable for up to 10 months. Overall, only 55% of seropositive specimen had antibodies against both antigens RBD and NP; 29% had only RBD-specific and 16% only NP-specific antibodies. Compared with the number of infections found by RT-PCR, the number of HCWs being seropositive was 38% higher. CONCLUSION AND RELEVANCE: Serological testing based on only one antigen implicates the risk of missing infections; thus, the set of antigens should be broadened in the future. The seroprevalence among participating HCWs was comparable to the general population in Austria. Nevertheless, in view of undetected infections, monitoring and surveillance should be reconsidered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Nucleocapsid Proteins , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Seroepidemiologic Studies
2.
Wien Klin Wochenschr ; 134(9-10): 371-376, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1844383

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Cancer patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have an increased risk of mortality. Here, we investigated predictive factors for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) associated mortality in patients with neoplastic diseases treated throughout Austria. METHODS: In this multicentric nationwide cohort study, data on patients with active or previous malignant diseases and SARS-CoV­2 infections diagnosed between 13 March 2020 and 06 April 2021 were collected. Collected data included the stage of the malignant disease and outcome parameters 30 days after the diagnosis of SARS-CoV­2 infection. RESULTS: The cohort consisted of 230 individuals of which 75 (32.6%) patients were diagnosed with hematologic malignancies and 155 (67.4%) with solid tumors. At a median follow-up of 31 days after COVID-19 diagnosis, 38 (16.5%) patients had died due to COVID-19. Compared to survivors, patients who died were older (62.4 vs. 71.4 years, p < 0.001) and had a higher ECOG performance status (0.7 vs. 2.43, p < 0.001). Furthermore, higher neutrophil counts (64.9% vs. 73.8%, p = 0.03), lower lymphocyte counts (21.4% vs. 14%, p = 0.006) and lower albumin levels (32.5 g/l vs. 21.6 g/l, p < 0.001) were observed to be independent risk factors for adverse outcomes. No association between mortality and systemic antineoplastic therapy was found (p > 0.05). In 60.6% of the patients, therapy was postponed due to quarantine requirements or hospital admission. CONCLUSION: Mortality of Austrian cancer patients infected with SARS-CoV­2 is comparable to that of other countries. Furthermore, risk factors associated with higher mortality were evident and similar to the general population. Treatment delays were frequently observed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Cohort Studies , Humans , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Neoplasms/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Time-to-Treatment
3.
Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc ; 28(6): 1705-1711, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1826407

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Due to the lack of evidence, it was the aim of the study to investigate current possible cutbacks in orthopaedic healthcare due to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic (COVID-19). METHODS: An online survey was performed of orthopaedic surgeons in the German-speaking Arthroscopy Society (Gesellschaft für Arthroskopie und Gelenkchirurgie, AGA). The survey consisted of 20 questions concerning four topics: four questions addressed the origin and surgical experience of the participant, 12 questions dealt with potential cutbacks in orthopaedic healthcare and 4 questions addressed the influence of the pandemic on the particular surgeon. RESULTS: Of 4234 contacted orthopaedic surgeons, 1399 responded. Regarding arthroscopic procedures between 10 and 30% of the participants stated that these were still being performed-with actual percentages depending on the specific joint and procedure. Only 6.2% of the participants stated that elective total joint arthroplasty was still being performed at their centre. In addition, physical rehabilitation and surgeons' postoperative follow-ups were severely affected. CONCLUSION: Orthopaedic healthcare services in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland are suffering a drastic cutback due to COVID-19. A drastic reduction in arthroscopic procedures like rotator cuff repair and cruciate ligament reconstruction and an almost total shutdown of elective total joint arthroplasty were reported. Long-term consequences cannot be predicted yet. The described disruption in orthopaedic healthcare services has to be viewed as historic. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: V.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Elective Surgical Procedures/statistics & numerical data , Orthopedic Procedures/statistics & numerical data , Orthopedics/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Aftercare/statistics & numerical data , Arthroplasty/statistics & numerical data , Arthroscopy/statistics & numerical data , Austria/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Germany/epidemiology , Health Care Surveys , Humans , Internet , Male , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Rehabilitation/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , Switzerland/epidemiology
4.
Wien Klin Wochenschr ; 134(9-10): 399-419, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1802740

ABSTRACT

The Austrian Society of Pneumology (ASP) launched a first statement on severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in May 2020, at a time when in Austria 285 people had died from this disease and vaccinations were not available. Lockdown and social distancing were the only available measures to prevent more infections and the breakdown of the health system. Meanwhile, in Austria over 13,000 patients have died in association with a SARS-CoV­2 infection and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was among the most common causes of death; however, SARS-CoV­2 has been mutating all the time and currently, most patients have been affected by the delta variant where the vaccination is very effective but the omicron variant is rapidly rising and becoming predominant. Particularly in children and young adults, where the vaccination rate is low, the omicron variant is expected to spread very fast. This poses a particular threat to unvaccinated people who are at elevated risk of severe COVID-19 disease but also to people with an active vaccination. There are few publications that comprehensively addressed the special issues with SARS-CoV­2 infection in patients with chronic lung diseases. These were the reasons for this updated statement. Pulmonologists care for many patients with an elevated risk of death in case of COVID-19 but also for patients that might be at an elevated risk of vaccination reactions or vaccination failure. In addition, lung function tests, bronchoscopy, respiratory physiotherapy and training therapy may put both patients and health professionals at an increased risk of infection. The working circles of the ASP have provided statements concerning these risks and how to avoid risks for the patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Lung Diseases , Pulmonary Medicine , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Lung Diseases/epidemiology , Lung Diseases/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
5.
Wien Klin Wochenschr ; 134(9-10): 344-350, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1787820

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most clinical studies report the symptoms experienced by those infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) via patients already hospitalized. Here we analyzed the symptoms experienced outside of a hospital setting. METHODS: The Vienna Social Fund (FSW; Vienna, Austria), the Public Health Services of the City of Vienna (MA15) and the private company Symptoma collaborated to implement Vienna's official online COVID-19 symptom checker. Users answered 12 yes/no questions about symptoms to assess their risk for COVID-19. They could also specify their age and sex, and whether they had contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Depending on the assessed risk of COVID-19 positivity, a SARS-CoV­2 nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) was performed. In this publication, we analyzed which factors (symptoms, sex or age) are associated with COVID-19 positivity. We also trained a classifier to correctly predict COVID-19 positivity from the collected data. RESULTS: Between 2 November 2020 and 18 November 2021, 9133 people experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms were assessed as high risk by the chatbot and were subsequently tested by a NAAT. Symptoms significantly associated with a positive COVID-19 test were malaise, fatigue, headache, cough, fever, dysgeusia and hyposmia. Our classifier could successfully predict COVID-19 positivity with an area under the curve (AUC) of 0.74. CONCLUSION: This study provides reliable COVID-19 symptom statistics based on the general population verified by NAATs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Headache , Hospitalization , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Viruses ; 14(4)2022 04 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1786075

ABSTRACT

This study evaluated and compared the performance of simplified acute physiology score 3 (SAPS 3) for predicting in-hospital mortality in COVID-19 patients admitted to intensive care units (ICUs) with and without diabetes in Austria. The Austrian national public health institute (GÖG) data of COVID-19 patients admitted to ICUs (n = 5850) were analyzed. Three versions of SAPS 3 were used: standard equation, Central European equation, and Austrian equation customized for COVID-19 patients. The observed in-hospital mortality was 38.9%, 42.9%, and 37.3% in all, diabetes, and non-diabetes patients, respectively. The overall C-statistics was 0.69 with an insignificant (p = 0.193) difference between diabetes (0.70) and non-diabetes (0.68) patients. The Brier score was > 0.20 for all SAPS 3 equations in all cohorts. Calibration was unsatisfactory for both standard and Central European equations in all cohorts, whereas it was satisfactory for the Austrian equation in diabetes patients only. The SAPS 3 score demonstrated low discrimination and accuracy in Austrian COVID-19 patients, with an insignificant difference between diabetes and non-diabetes. All equations were miscalibrated particularly in non-diabetes patients, while the Austrian equation showed satisfactory calibration in diabetes patients only. Both uncalibrated and calibrated versions of SAPS 3 should be used with caution in COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Diabetes Mellitus , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Simplified Acute Physiology Score
7.
Wien Klin Wochenschr ; 134(9-10): 391-398, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1782808

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: This study aims to investigate the impact of the lockdowns during the COVID-19 (Corona-Virus-Disease 19) pandemic in Austria on work-related accidents in the year 2020. Apart from the lockdowns, multiple work-related measures were introduced in 2020, such as the new law on short-term work and regulation on accidents during home-office. Their combined effects on work-related accidents are unknown and a secondary parameter of this study. METHODS: Daily data on the number of accepted and rejected cases of work-related accidents from the Allgemeine Unfallversicherungsanstalt were obtained for the years 2019 and 2020. Based on data provided by the World Health Organization and government publications, the beginning and end dates of national hard and soft lockdown periods were derived. From this database, a difference-in-differences regression analysis on the absolute number of daily work-related accidents was conducted. RESULTS: On average 272.3 work-related accidents per day were registered in 2019 and 199.4 in 2020, a statistically significant reduction of 72.9 accidents per day and total decrease of 26,164 less accidents compared to 2019. Both lockdowns had a statistically highly significant effect on work-related accidents: The hard lockdown reduced the average number of daily registered work-related accidents by 40%. The light lockdown phases reduced this number by an average of 51%. Weekends and holidays had the greatest impact on work-related accidents with a reduction of 69% and 73%, respectively. CONCLUSION: Both lockdown qualities during the COVID-19 pandemic in Austria led to a significant reduction in work-related accidents for their duration. These findings merit further investigation with more detailed data on sectors and injury-quality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Accidents , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Kidney360 ; 1(10): 1077-1082, 2020 10 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776855

ABSTRACT

Background: The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic forced many countries to implement strict and unprecedented precautions to stop the spread of the virus. On top of these measures, hemodialysis units have adopted their own rules to protect wards and patients from infection with SARS-CoV-2. Despite the rapidly growing knowledge on epidemiology, virology, and clinical disease, little is known about how these measures are perceived by patients themselves on hemodialysis. Methods: The study was performed in the three hemodialysis units in Vorarlberg, Austria's westernmost state. A questionnaire was developed consisting of 22 questions on patients' perceptions of the COVID-19 crisis and their feelings about the general precautions and specific steps implemented on dialysis wards. All adult patients were asked to fill out the questionnaire anonymously. Results: Of 202 patients on hemodialysis, 148 completed the questionnaire (66.9% men, mean age 68.3±13.3 years). The vast majority (83.1%) were worried by the COVID-19 crisis, but only 28.4% reported a negative effect on emotional well-being. Daily life was most affected by the general ban on visitors (58.6%) and home confinement (35.9%). Of the patients, 64.2% feared contracting COVID-19, 30.7% were afraid of financial consequences, and 14.6% were afraid of loneliness and isolation. The safety measures on dialysis wards were classified as adequate by 97.3% of the respondents. Of the patients, 78.2% felt safe during dialysis treatment. All dialysis-specific precautions (individual patient transport, health check, hand disinfection, wearing a face mask, and physical distancing) were rated important or very important by almost all patients. To date, none of the patients have acquired SARS-CoV-2 infection. Conclusions: Although the SARS-CoV-2 crisis brought worry to and affected the lives of most patients on hemodialysis, its effect on their emotional well-being was moderate. Patients felt safe on dialysis wards, and acceptance of specific precautions was high.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Renal Dialysis
9.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 18(4): e1009973, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1775427

ABSTRACT

The drivers behind regional differences of SARS-CoV-2 spread on finer spatio-temporal scales are yet to be fully understood. Here we develop a data-driven modelling approach based on an age-structured compartmental model that compares 116 Austrian regions to a suitably chosen control set of regions to explain variations in local transmission rates through a combination of meteorological factors, non-pharmaceutical interventions and mobility. We find that more than 60% of the observed regional variations can be explained by these factors. Decreasing temperature and humidity, increasing cloudiness, precipitation and the absence of mitigation measures for public events are the strongest drivers for increased virus transmission, leading in combination to a doubling of the transmission rates compared to regions with more favourable weather. We conjecture that regions with little mitigation measures for large events that experience shifts toward unfavourable weather conditions are particularly predisposed as nucleation points for the next seasonal SARS-CoV-2 waves.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Meteorological Concepts , Weather
10.
Wien Klin Wochenschr ; 133(23-24): 1272-1280, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1756808

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Seroepidemiological studies provide important insight into the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV­2) in our society. We aimed to determine seropositivity of SARS-CoV­2 antibodies and its cross-sectional correlates in a large cohort of blood donors. METHODS: In this observational cohort study, we tested healthy blood donors residing in Tyrol, Austria, for SARS-CoV­2 antibodies using the Abbott SARS-CoV­2 IgG chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay. We estimated 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) of seroprevalences using bootstrapping and tested for differences by participant characteristics using logistic regression. FINDINGS: Between 8 June and 4 September 2020, we screened 5345 healthy individuals at local blood donor sessions (mean age 42.7 years, SD 13.5 years, 46.7% female). Overall seroprevalence was 3.1% (95% CI 2.7-3.6%, 165 cases), which is 5.1-fold higher (95% CI 4.5-6.0%) than the case number identified by the health authorities in the state-wide testing program (0.6%; 4536 out of 757,634). Seroprevalence was higher in the district Landeck (16.6%, P < 0.001) and in individuals aged < 25 years (4.7%, P = 0.043), but did not differ by gender, blood types, or medication intake. The odds ratio for seropositivity was 2.51 for participants who had travelled to Ischgl (1.49-4.21, P = 0.001), 1.39 who had travelled to other federal states (1.00-1.93, P = 0.052), and 2.41 who had travelled abroad (1.61-3.63, P < 0.001). Compared to participants who had a suspected/confirmed SARS-CoV­2 infection but were seronegative, seropositive participants more frequently reported loss of smell (odds ratio = 2.49, 1.32-4.68, P = 0.005) and taste (odds ratio = 2.76, 1.54-4.92, P = 0.001). CONCLUSION: In summer 2020, SARS-CoV­2 seroprevalence in Tyrolean blood donors was 3.1%. Our study revealed regional variation and associations with young age, travel history and specific symptoms.


Subject(s)
Blood Donors , COVID-19 , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , Austria/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
11.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732256

ABSTRACT

There is uncertainty about the seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the general population of Austria and about the waning of antibodies over time. We conducted a seroepidemiological study between June 2020 and September 2021, enrolling blood donors aged 18-70 years across Tyrol, Austria (participation rate: 84.0%). We analyzed serum samples for antibodies against the spike or the nucleocapsid proteins of SARS-CoV-2. We performed a total of 47,363 samples taken from 35,193 individuals (median age, 43.1 years (IQR: 29.3-53.7); 45.3% women; 10.0% with prior SARS-CoV-2 infection). Seroprevalence increased from 3.4% (95% CI: 2.8-4.2%) in June 2020 to 82.7% (95% CI: 81.4-83.8%) in September 2021, largely due to vaccination. Anti-spike IgG seroprevalence was 99.6% (95% CI: 99.4-99.7%) among fully vaccinated individuals, 90.4% (95% CI: 88.8-91.7%) among unvaccinated individuals with prior infection and 11.5% (95% CI: 10.8-12.3%) among unvaccinated individuals without known prior infection. Anti-spike IgG levels were reduced by 44.0% (95% CI: 34.9-51.7%) at 5-6 months compared with 0-3 months after infection. In fully vaccinated individuals, they decreased by 31.7% (95% CI: 29.4-33.9%) per month. In conclusion, seroprevalence in Tyrol increased to 82.7% in September 2021, with the bulk of seropositivity stemming from vaccination. Antibody levels substantially and gradually declined after vaccination or infection.


Subject(s)
Blood Donors , COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
12.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(6)2022 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732047

ABSTRACT

Telephone emergency service (TES) consultants have been challenged even more since the beginning of the pandemic. How the COVID-19 situation and the associated increasing demand for TES services affect the well-being and stress of TES counselors has not been assessed so far. This longitudinal study examined mental well-being (WHO-5), perceived stress level (PSS-10), and experienced job-related meaningfulness (CERES) of TES counselors at two measurement points during the pandemic. From December 2020 to January 2021 (t1), N = 374 counselors were recruited within the Austrian nationwide organization "TelefonSeelsorge". From those, N = 108 also participated one year later at t2. Neither well-being nor perceived stress differed significantly between t1 and t2. There was a decrease in job-related meaningfulness (from 5.46 at t1 to 5.34 at t2; p < 0.001). The consultants identified loneliness and mental health as the most common problems of helpline callers at both measurement points. The results confirm a stable level of stress and well-being during the pandemic in TES consultants. However, they also show a slight decrease in perceived job-related meaningfulness. Well-being of counselors should be watched closely, as they are an important part of the psychosocial healthcare system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Counselors , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Counselors/psychology , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Mental Health , Pandemics , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Telephone
13.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(9)2020 05 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1725602

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a novel coronavirus, which first appeared in China in late 2019, and reached pandemic distribution in early 2020. The first major outbreak in Europe occurred in Northern Italy where it spread to neighboring countries, notably to Austria, where skiing resorts served as a main transmission hub. Soon, the Austrian government introduced strict measures to curb the spread of the virus. Using publicly available data, we assessed the efficiency of the governmental measures. We assumed an average incubation period of one week and an average duration of infectivity of 10 days. One week after the introduction of strict measures, the increase in daily new cases was reversed, and the reproduction number dropped. The crude estimates tended to overestimate the reproduction rate in the early phase. Publicly available data provide a first estimate about the effectiveness of public health measures. However, more data are needed for an unbiased assessment.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Public Health , Austria/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors
14.
Int J Biol Sci ; 18(4): 1627-1650, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726695

ABSTRACT

Viruses have become a prominent issue in public health, politics and economics due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet they have still met little attention in educational research, although misconceptions concerning viruses may contribute to antibiotics misuse, disbelief in existence of viruses and distrust in vaccination. We investigated knowledge and attitudes in Austria concerning Covid-19, viruses in general and vaccination. We conducted two cross-sectional online surveys. Study A was performed Austrian-wide (N = 1027), study B specifically targeted Austrian students from middle and high schools (N = 1728). Several participants did not believe in the existence of SARS-CoV-2. General vaccination damage was highly overrated. Many defined viruses as unicellular organisms or bacteria, and 6-10 % believed that they can be killed by antibiotics. Very many participants were unable to identify, whether a specific disease was caused by a virus or another pathogen. Knowledge was significantly correlated with level of education/grade and interest in virology. Additionally, willingness to become vaccinated was significantly correlated with knowledge. Many participants felt insufficiently informed about viruses at school. We strongly recommend that virus-related school education must highly improve to enable the population to correctly assess health-related information, counter fake news and come to scientifically informed decisions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/psychology , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Education , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Schools , Students/psychology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Vaccination/adverse effects , Vaccination/psychology , Young Adult
15.
Anal Bioanal Chem ; 414(10): 3291-3299, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1712225

ABSTRACT

Already at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, an extensive PCR and antigen testing strategy was considered necessary and subsequently also proved successful in order to limit the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections on international and national levels. However, equally important will be the continuous monitoring of the seroprevalence status of populations from defined regions to detect-in a timely manner-any recurrence of infections or an eventual decline in antibody levels of vaccinated individuals, especially in the emerging post-pandemic situation. The aim of this study was to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulin G antibodies in the federal state of Upper Austria (Austria) during the period of December 2020 until April 2021. To achieve this goal, we have analyzed anonymized data on the immune status of self-referral volunteers that have been determined at local pharmacies through a low-entry-barrier point-of-care analysis approach. The seroprevalence values for immunoglobulin type G antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 antigens obtained by rapid diagnostic testing on peripheral blood from volunteers reflect the current population-based estimates reported in the literature as well as the positivity rates detected by PCR-screening analyses. In conclusion, broad-based monitoring of IgG antibodies by means of a point-of-care testing network represents a valuable tool to assess the current immune situation within regionally defined populations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Antibodies, Viral , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Point-of-Care Testing , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
16.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 2872, 2022 02 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1708602

ABSTRACT

Several systemic factors indicate that worldwide herd immunity against COVID-19 will probably not be achieved in 2021. On the one hand, vaccination programs are limited by availability of doses and on the other hand, the number of people already infected is still too low to have a disease preventing impact and new emerging variants of the virus seem to partially neglect developed antibodies from previous infections. Nevertheless, by February 2021 after one year of observing high numbers of reported COVID-19 cases in most European countries, we might expect that the immunization level should have an impact on the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Here we present an approach for estimating the immunization of the Austrian population and discuss potential consequences on herd immunity effects. To estimate immunization we use a calibrated agent-based simulation model that reproduces the actual COVID-19 pandemic in Austria. From the resulting synthetic individual-based data we can extract the number of immunized persons. We then extrapolate the progression of the epidemic by varying the obtained level of immunization in simulations of an hypothetical uncontrolled epidemic wave indicating potential effects on the effective reproduction number. We compared our theoretical findings with results derived from a classic differential equation SIR-model. As of February 2021, [Formula: see text] of the Austrian population has been affected by a SARS-CoV-2 infection which causes a [Formula: see text] reduction of the effective reproduction number and a [Formula: see text] reduction of the prevalence peak compared to a fully susceptible population. This estimation is now recomputed on a regular basis to publish model based analysis of immunization level in Austria also including the fast growing effects of vaccination programs. This provides substantial information for decision makers to evaluate the necessity of non pharmaceutical intervention measures based on the estimated impact of natural and vaccinated immunization.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunity, Herd , Models, Statistical , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/methods , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Incidence
17.
Clin Exp Dent Res ; 8(1): 37-44, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700196

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Data on the injury rate of skiers and snowboarders are currently limited. The aim of this study was, therefore, to assess the frequency of general and dental injuries among snow sports instructors, to investigate the use of protective gear and mouthguards, and to evaluate snow sports instructors' dental first aid know-how. MATERIAL AND METHODS: A questionnaire-based, cross-sectional study comprising 603 ski and snowboard instructors from Austria, Germany, and Switzerland was conducted in the timeframe December 2019 to May 2020. The survey gathered data on general and dental injuries sustained by instructors, protective gear usage, and know-how in dental first aid. The statistical analysis included χ2 tests, Wilcoxon rank-sum and Kruskal-Wallis tests, and linear regression analysis. The level of significance was set at α = .05. RESULTS: Out of the 603 instructors, 326 (54.1%) sustained an injury while skiing or snowboarding. Forty (6.6%) reported a snow sports-related dental injury. The rates of injuries related to skiing and snowboarding showed no significant difference (p = .0952). Compared with snowboarding on slopes, backcountry snowboarding entailed fewer risks of injury for snowboard instructors (p = .012). Knowledge of dental first aid was limited, with 45.8% of instructors uninformed about the possibility of replanting avulsed teeth. 10.1% of instructors were familiar with tooth rescue boxes. None of the instructors surveyed had a tooth rescue box in their first aid equipment. Helmet usage was high (95.6%) among snow sports instructors, whereas mouthguard usage was rare (3.5%). CONCLUSIONS: Protective gear usage among snow sports instructors is high. The risk of dental injury while skiing or snowboarding is lower compared with other sports. Dental first aid know-how ought to be enhanced in snow sports communities to ensure that appropriate first aid is provided in case of a dental injury related to skiing or snowboarding.


Subject(s)
Tooth Injuries , Austria/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Surveys and Questionnaires , Switzerland/epidemiology , Tooth Injuries/epidemiology
19.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 612, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671555

ABSTRACT

We study the real-life effect of an unprecedented rapid mass vaccination campaign. Following a large outbreak of the Beta variant in the district of Schwaz/Austria, 100,000 doses of BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) were procured to mass vaccinate the entire adult population of the district between the 11th and 16th of March 2021. This made the district the first widely inoculated region in Europe. We examine the effect of this campaign on the number of infections, cases of variants of concern, hospital and ICU admissions. We compare Schwaz with (i) a control group of highly similar districts, and (ii) with populations residing in municipalities along the border of Schwaz which were just excluded from the campaign. We find large and significant decreases for all outcomes after the campaign. Our results suggest that rapid mass vaccination is an effective tool to curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Austria/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Mass Vaccination , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
20.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(3)2022 Jan 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667157

ABSTRACT

In the turbulent year 2020, overshadowed by the global COVID-19 pandemic, Austria experienced multiple waves of increased case incidence. While governmental measures to curb the numbers were based on current knowledge of infection risk factors, a retrospective analysis of incidence and lethality at the district level revealed correlations of relative infection risk with socioeconomic, geographical, and behavioral population parameters. We identified unexpected correlations between political orientation and smoking behavior and COVID-19 infection risk and/or mortality. For example, a decrease in daily smokers by 2.3 percentage points would be associated with an increase in cumulative incidence by 10% in the adjusted model, and an increase in voters of the right-wing populist party by 1.6 percentage points with an increase in cumulative mortality by 10%. While these parameters are apparently only single elements of complex causal chains that finally lead to individual susceptibility and vulnerability levels, our findings might have identified ecological parameters that can be utilized to develop fine-tuned communications and measures in upcoming challenges of this and other pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Austria/epidemiology , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
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