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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(7)2022 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1776231

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted many countries to issue far-reaching policy measures that may have led to increased substance use. Higher education students may have been disproportionally affected due to the rearrangement of educational life and their susceptibility to psychosocial distress and substance use. The current study examined associations between pandemic-related stressors, psychosocial distress, and self-reported alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use before and during the first wave of the pandemic. Data were collected in Belgium as part of the COVID-19 International Student Well-being Study (C19 ISWS) and analyzed using multinomial logistic regression analyses. The sample contained 18,346 higher education students aged 17 to 24 (75% women). Overall use of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis as well as binge drinking decreased during the pandemic, perhaps due to limited social gatherings. Moving back to the parental home was associated with decreased substance use, while depressive symptoms were associated with increased substance use. Perceived threat and academic stress were associated with increased binge drinking among heavy bingers and increased tobacco use. Decreases among students who moved back to their parental home may be explained by increased informal social control. Increased substance use was associated with a number of stressors and psychosocial distress, which suggests that some students may have been self-medicating to manage their mental health amidst the pandemic. Public health policy concerning substance use may prove to be less effective if not tailored to particular subgroups within the student population.


Subject(s)
Binge Drinking , COVID-19 , Cannabis , Substance-Related Disorders , Belgium/epidemiology , Binge Drinking/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Students/psychology , Substance-Related Disorders/epidemiology
2.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 18(3): e1009965, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770639

ABSTRACT

Several important aspects related to SARS-CoV-2 transmission are not well known due to a lack of appropriate data. However, mathematical and computational tools can be used to extract part of this information from the available data, like some hidden age-related characteristics. In this paper, we present a method to investigate age-specific differences in transmission parameters related to susceptibility to and infectiousness upon contracting SARS-CoV-2 infection. More specifically, we use panel-based social contact data from diary-based surveys conducted in Belgium combined with the next generation principle to infer the relative incidence and we compare this to real-life incidence data. Comparing these two allows for the estimation of age-specific transmission parameters. Our analysis implies the susceptibility in children to be around half of the susceptibility in adults, and even lower for very young children (preschooler). However, the probability of adults and the elderly to contract the infection is decreasing throughout the vaccination campaign, thereby modifying the picture over time.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742731

ABSTRACT

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) of SARS-CoV-2 has been used as a complementary indicator to follow up on the trends in the COVID-19 spread in Belgium and in many other countries. To further develop the use of WBE, a multiplex digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR) assay was optimized, validated and applied for the measurement of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) in influent wastewater (IWW) samples. Key mutations were targeted in the different VOC strains, including SΔ69/70 deletion, N501Y, SΔ241 and SΔ157. The presented bioanalytical method was able to distinguish between SARS-CoV-2 RNA originating from the wild-type and B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and B.1.617.2 variants. The dPCR assay proved to be sensitive enough to detect low concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in IWW since the limit of detection of the different targets ranged between 0.3 and 2.9 copies/µL. This developed WBE approach was applied to IWW samples originating from different Belgian locations and was able to monitor spatio-temporal changes in the presence of targeted VOC strains in the investigated communities. The present dPCR assay developments were realized to bring added-value to the current national WBE of COVID-19 by also having the spatio-temporal proportions of the VoC in presence in the wastewaters.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Waste Water
4.
Euro Surveill ; 27(9)2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731711

ABSTRACT

BackgroundTo control epidemic waves, it is important to know the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and its evolution over time in relation to the control measures taken.AimTo assess the evolving SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and seroincidence related to the first national lockdown in Belgium, we performed a nationwide seroprevalence study, stratified by age, sex and region using 3,000-4,000 residual samples during seven periods between 30 March and 17 October 2020.MethodsWe analysed residual sera from ambulatory patients for IgG antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 S1 protein with a semiquantitative commercial ELISA. Weighted seroprevalence (overall and by age category and sex) and seroincidence during seven consecutive periods were estimated for the Belgian population while accommodating test-specific sensitivity and specificity.ResultsThe weighted overall seroprevalence initially increased from 1.8% (95% credible interval (CrI): 1.0-2.6) to 5.3% (95% CrI: 4.2-6.4), implying a seroincidence of 3.4% (95% CrI: 2.4-4.6) between the first and second collection period over a period of 3 weeks during lockdown (start lockdown mid-March 2020). Thereafter, seroprevalence stabilised, however, significant decreases were observed when comparing the third with the fifth, sixth and seventh period, resulting in negative seroincidence estimates after lockdown was lifted. We estimated for the last collection period mid-October 2020 a weighted overall seroprevalence of 4.2% (95% CrI: 3.1-5.2).ConclusionDuring lockdown, an initially small but increasing fraction of the Belgian population showed serologically detectable signs of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, which did not further increase when confinement measures eased and full lockdown was lifted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Prospective Studies , Seroepidemiologic Studies
5.
Int J Equity Health ; 20(1): 258, 2021 12 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1724494

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Belgium was one of the countries that was struck hard by COVID-19. Initially, the belief was that we were 'all in it together'. Emerging evidence showed however that deprived socioeconomic groups suffered disproportionally. Yet, few studies are available for Belgium. The main question addressed in this paper is whether excess mortality during the first COVID-19 wave followed a social gradient and whether the classic mortality gradient was reproduced. METHODS: We used nationwide individually linked data from the Belgian National Register and the Census 2011. Age-standardized all-cause mortality rates were calculated during the first COVID-19 wave in weeks 11-20 in 2020 and compared with the rates during weeks 11-20 in 2015-2019 to calculate absolute and relative excess mortality by socioeconomic and -demographic characteristics. For both periods, relative inequalities in total mortality between socioeconomic and -demographic groups were calculated using Poisson regression. Analyses were stratified by age, gender and care home residence. RESULTS: Excess mortality during the first COVID-19 wave was high in collective households, with care homes hit extremely hard by the pandemic. The social patterning of excess mortality was rather inconsistent and deviated from the usual gradient, mainly through higher mortality excesses among higher socioeconomic groups classes in specific age-sex groups. Overall, the first COVID-19 wave did not change the social patterning of mortality, however. Differences in relative inequalities between both periods were generally small and insignificant, except by household living arrangement. CONCLUSION: The social patterning during the first COVID-19 wave was exceptional as excess mortality did not follow the classic lines of higher mortality in lower classes and patterns were not always consistent. Relative mortality inequalities did not change substantially during the first COVID-19 wave compared to the reference period.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Belgium/epidemiology , Humans , Infant , Mortality , Pandemics , Residence Characteristics , SARS-CoV-2 , Socioeconomic Factors
6.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259908, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705817

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The incidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the Belgian community is mainly estimated based on test results of patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-like symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) positivity ratio and distribution of viral loads within a cohort of asymptomatic patients screened prior hospitalization or surgery, stratified by age category. MATERIALS/METHODS: We retrospectively studied data on SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR detection in respiratory tract samples of asymptomatic patients screened pre-hospitalization or pre-surgery in nine Belgian hospitals located in Flanders over a 12-month period (1 April 2020-31 March 2021). RESULTS: In total, 255925 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results and 2421 positive results for which a viral load was reported, were included in this study. An unweighted overall SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR positivity ratio of 1.27% was observed with strong spatiotemporal differences. SARS-CoV-2 circulated predominantly in 80+ year old individuals across all time periods except between the first and second COVID-19 wave and in 20-30 year old individuals before the second COVID-19 wave. In contrast to the first wave, a significantly higher positivity ratio was observed for the 20-40 age group in addition to the 80+ age group compared to the other age groups during the second wave. The median viral load follows a similar temporal evolution as the positivity rate with an increase ahead of the second wave and highest viral loads observed for 80+ year old individuals. CONCLUSION: There was a high SARS-CoV-2 circulation among asymptomatic patients with a predominance and highest viral loads observed in the elderly. Moreover, ahead of the second COVID-19 wave an increase in median viral load was noted with the highest overall positivity ratio observed in 20-30 year old individuals, indicating they could have been the hidden drivers of this wave.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Diseases/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Tract Infections/pathology , Respiratory Tract Infections/surgery , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Young Adult
7.
Euro Surveill ; 27(7)2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1703383

ABSTRACT

BackgroundCOVID-19 mortality, excess mortality, deaths per million population (DPM), infection fatality ratio (IFR) and case fatality ratio (CFR) are reported and compared for many countries globally. These measures may appear objective, however, they should be interpreted with caution.AimWe examined reported COVID-19-related mortality in Belgium from 9 March 2020 to 28 June 2020, placing it against the background of excess mortality and compared the DPM and IFR between countries and within subgroups.MethodsThe relation between COVID-19-related mortality and excess mortality was evaluated by comparing COVID-19 mortality and the difference between observed and weekly average predictions of all-cause mortality. DPM were evaluated using demographic data of the Belgian population. The number of infections was estimated by a stochastic compartmental model. The IFR was estimated using a delay distribution between infection and death.ResultsIn the study period, 9,621 COVID-19-related deaths were reported, which is close to the excess mortality estimated using weekly averages (8,985 deaths). This translates to 837 DPM and an IFR of 1.5% in the general population. Both DPM and IFR increase with age and are substantially larger in the nursing home population.DiscussionDuring the first pandemic wave, Belgium had no discrepancy between COVID-19-related mortality and excess mortality. In light of this close agreement, it is useful to consider the DPM and IFR, which are both age, sex, and nursing home population-dependent. Comparison of COVID-19 mortality between countries should rather be based on excess mortality than on COVID-19-related mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Belgium/epidemiology , Humans , Mortality , Nursing Homes , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
8.
BMC Prim Care ; 23(1): 18, 2022 01 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690970

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The knowledge of risk perceptions in primary care could help health authorities to manage epidemics. METHODS: A European multi-center cross-sectional study was conducted in France, Belgium and Spain to describe the perceptions, the level of anxiety and the feeling of preparedness of primary healthcare physicians towards the COVID-19 infection at the beginning of the pandemic. The factors associated with the feeling of preparedness were studied using multivariate logistic regressions. RESULTS: A total of 511 physicians participated to the study (response rate: 35.2%). Among them, only 16.3% (n=82) were highly anxious about the pandemic, 50.6% (n=254) had the feeling to have a high level of information, 80.5% (n=409) found the measures taken by the health authorities suitable to limit the spread of COVID-19, and 45.2% (n=229) felt prepared to face the epidemic. Factors associated with feeling prepared were: being a Spanish practitioner (adjusted OR=4.34; 95%CI [2.47; 7.80]), being a man (aOR=2.57, 95%CI [1.69; 3.96]), finding the measures taken by authorities appropriate (aOR=1.72, 95%CI [1.01; 3.00]) and being highly informed (aOR=4.82, 95%CI [2.62; 9.19]). CONCLUSIONS: Regarding the dramatic evolution of the pandemic in Europe in the weeks following the study, it appears that information available at this time and transmitted to the physicians could have given a wrong assessment of the spread and the severity of the disease. It seems essential to better integrate the primary care physicians into the information, training and protection channels. A comparison between countries could help to select the most effective measures in terms of information and communication.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Physicians, Primary Care , Belgium/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , France/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , Perception , SARS-CoV-2 , Spain/epidemiology
9.
BMC Cancer ; 22(1): 183, 2022 Feb 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690945

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer screening programs were disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to estimate the short-term impact of the temporary shutdown (from March until May- June) of the cancer screening programs invitations in Flanders (Belgium) by looking at invitation coverage, percentage of people screened after invitation and the screening interval. METHODS: Yearly invitation coverage was calculated as the number of people who received an invitation, as a proportion of the people who should have received an invitation that year. Weekly response to the invitation was calculated as the number of people who were screened within 40 days of their date of invitation, as a percentage of the people who received an invitation that week (as a proxy for willingness to screen). Weekly screening interval was calculated as the mean number of months between the current screening and the previous screening of all the people who screened that week. The two last indicators were calculated for each week in 2019 and 2020, after which the difference between that week's value in 2020 and 2019 with 95% confidence intervals. Results of these two indicators were also analysed after stratification for gender, age and participation history. RESULTS: Invitation coverage was not impacted in the colorectal and cervical cancer screening program. In the breast cancer screening program invitation coverage went down from 97.5% (2019) to 88.7% (2020), and the backlog of invitations was largely resolved in the first six months of 2021. The willingness to screen was minimally influenced by COVID-19. The breast cancer screening program had a temporary increase in screening interval in the first months following the restart after COVID-19 related shutdown, when it was on average 2.1 months longer than in 2019. CONCLUSIONS: Willingness to screen was minimally influenced by COVID-19, but there may be an influence on screening coverage because of lower invitation coverage, mainly for the for breast Cancer Screening Program. The increases in screening intervals for the three Cancer Screening Program seem reasonable and would probably not significantly increase the risk of delayed screening cancer diagnoses. When restarting a Cancer Screening Program after a COVID-19 related shutdown, monitoring is crucial.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Early Detection of Cancer/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Patient Participation/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2
10.
J Med Life ; 14(6): 816-822, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1675552

ABSTRACT

The research aims to suggest the most enabling indicator of COVID-19 resistance in Belgium and Norway by studying the dynamics of staff and bed security indicators of the primary health care sector. The research methodology comprises Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) statistical analysis of staff and bed security indicators. The reason for choosing Belgium and Norway for comparative analysis regarding the readiness to face the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of staff and bed security is because Belgium is leading by the highest level and Norway is leading by the lowest level of morbidity and mortality per 1 million population. The study revealed that the greatest enabler of the primary health care system efficiency in terms of resistance to COVID-19 is primary health care staff security. The analysis clearly shows that the number of beds is not paramount for the effectiveness of the healthcare system and primary health care. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deficiencies and weaknesses of primary health care systems of all countries of the world. The research results suggest that Belgium and other countries focus on the education of nurses and therapists. The significance of the research results is that they prove that the main factor of the effectiveness of the primary health care system is its human resources. This information is useful for improving health systems in many countries around the world.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Belgium/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Primary Health Care , SARS-CoV-2
11.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 245, 2022 02 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673909

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Belgium has been hit by a series of surges in the number of COVID-19 cases. Each of these resulted in more stringent measures being taken to curb the pandemic. This study compared perception of and adherence to COVID-19 measures of the Belgian population at two time periods: September 2020 (survey 1) and April/May 2021 (survey 2). METHODS: Two samples of approximately 2000 participants, representative for the Belgian population in terms of gender, age, province and socio-economic status, participated in an online survey. The survey questionnaire measured the perceived infection risk and severity, and the perception of and adherence to protective measures. Answers were compared between the time periods and risk factors for lower adherence were identified using multivariate linear regression. RESULTS: In survey 2, at which time the measures were more stringent, respondents assessed the risk of infection for themselves as lower, and for parents and grandparents as higher than in survey 1. Scores for understanding and usefulness of the measures were higher in survey 2 compared to survey 1, while reported past and future adherence were lower. Risk factors for a lower adherence were being male, being young, speaking French vs. Dutch, and having undergone a symptomatic infection. CONCLUSIONS: It is important to consider the potential effect of fatigue among the population with regards to measures that are sustained for a long time, especially regarding measures related to social contacts. The identified risk factors for lower adherence offer insights to policy makers for future crisis communication regarding COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Belgium/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Perception , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
12.
BMJ Open ; 12(1): e054688, 2022 01 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662315

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: National SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence data provide essential information about population exposure to the virus and help predict the future course of the epidemic. Early cohort studies have suggested declines in levels of antibodies in individuals associated with, for example, illness severity, age and comorbidities. This protocol focuses on the seroprevalence among primary healthcare providers (PHCPs) in Belgium. PHCPs manage the vast majority of (COVID-19) patients and therefore play an essential role in the efficient organisation of healthcare. Currently, evidence is lacking on (1) how many PHCPs get infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Belgium, (2) the rate at which this happens, (3) their clinical spectrum, (4) their risk factors, (5) the effectiveness of the measures to prevent infection and (6) the accuracy of the serology-based point-of-care test (POCT) in a primary care setting. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This study will be set up as a prospective cohort study. General practitioners (GPs) and other PHCPs (working in a GP practice) will be recruited via professional networks and professional media outlets to register online to participate. Registered GPs and other PHCPs will be asked at each testing point (n=9) to perform a capillary blood sample antibody POCT targeting IgM and IgG against the receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 and complete an online questionnaire. The primary outcomes are the prevalence and incidence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in PHCPs during a 12-month follow-up period. Secondary outcomes include the longevity of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval has been granted by the ethics committee of the University Hospital of Antwerp/University of Antwerp (Belgian registration number: 3002020000237). Alongside journal publications, dissemination activities include the publication of monthly reports to be shared with the participants and the general population through the publicly available website of the Belgian health authorities (Sciensano). TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT04779424.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Belgium/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Health Personnel , Humans , Incidence , Prevalence , Prospective Studies , Seroepidemiologic Studies
13.
Health Econ Policy Law ; 17(1): 37-47, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655389

ABSTRACT

Belgium is often seen as an outlier in the international experience with the coronavirus disease 2019. We summarize the unfolding of the pandemic in Belgium from February to December 2020, discuss the countermeasures that were implemented and provide some explanations why the numbers indicate a stronger pandemic in Belgium than in its neighbouring countries. To some extent, the seemingly poor performance of Belgium is a measurement artefact. Yet, there were indeed particular factors in Belgium that unnecessarily increased the toll of the pandemic. In the first wave insufficient priority was given to protect care homes. The second wave was larger than necessary due to a failure to timely implement restrictive measures. The latter can, at least partly, be explained by a unique political situation: a temporary, minority government in the middle of a major crisis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Belgium/epidemiology , Government , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Comput Math Methods Med ; 2022: 4168619, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1639379

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread all over the world, causing unpredictable economic losses and public fear. Although vaccines against this virus have been developed and administered for months, many countries still suffer from secondary COVID-19 infections, including the United Kingdom, France, and Malaysia. Observations of COVID-19 infections in the United Kingdom and France and their governance measures showed a certain number of similarities. A further investigation of these countries' COVID-19 transmission patterns suggested that when a turning point appeared, the values of their stringency indices per population density (PSI) were nearly proportional to their absolute infection rate (AIR). To justify our assumptions, we developed a mathematical model named VSHR to predict the COVID-19 turning point for Malaysia. VSHR was first trained on 30-day infection records prior to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Belgium's known turning points. It was then transferred to Malaysian COVID-19 data to predict this nation's turning point. Given the estimated AIR parameter values in 5 days, we were now able to locate the turning point's appearance on June 2nd, 2021. VSHR offered two improvements: (1) gathered countries into groups based on their SI patterns and (2) generated a model to identify the turning point for a target country within 5 days with 90% CI. Our research on COVID-19's turning point for a country is beneficial for governments and clinical systems against future COVID-19 infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Epidemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Algorithms , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Computational Biology , Computer Simulation , Epidemics/statistics & numerical data , France/epidemiology , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Malaysia/epidemiology , United Kingdom/epidemiology
15.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0261818, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1623662

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Our project aims to provide: an overview of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the field of mental health professionals in 23 countries;a model of recommendations for good practice and proposals for methods and digital tools to improve the well-being at work of mental health professionals and the quality of services offered during crisis and post-crisis periods;an in-depth ethics review of the assessment of the use of numerical tools for psychiatry professionals and patient support, including teleconsulting. METHODS: This is a large international survey conducted among 2,000 mental health professionals in 23 countries over a 12-month period. This survey will be based on 30 individual interviews and 20 focus group sessions, and a digital questionnaire will be sent online to 2,000 professionals based on the criteria of gender, age, professional experience, psychiatric specialty, context of work in psychiatry, and geographical location. Regarding the development of telepsychiatry during the COVID-19 pandemic, a pilot study on the use of digital tools will be carried out on 100 clients of psychiatry professionals in France and Belgium. DISCUSSION-CONCLUSION: This study will contribute to the co-construction of an international organization and monitoring system that takes into account psychiatric health professionals as major resources to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and to develop efficient processes for preparing and anticipating crises by reducing psychosocial risks as much as possible. This project also aims to design tools for remote medicine and to develop the use of numerical tools for monitoring and supporting professionals and helping professionals to build the conditions for satisfactory operational work during crises and post-crisis situations, using adapted organizational methods. Our ongoing research should support professionals in the search for existing concrete solutions to cope with emergency work situations while maintaining an optimal quality of life.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Mental Health Services/organization & administration , Mental Health , Pandemics , Professional Practice , Psychotherapists/psychology , SARS-CoV-2 , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Female , France/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Pilot Projects , Quality of Life/psychology , Surveys and Questionnaires , Telemedicine/methods
16.
Euro Surveill ; 26(48)2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613502

ABSTRACT

BackgroundCOVID-19-related mortality in Belgium has drawn attention for two reasons: its high level, and a good completeness in reporting of deaths. An ad hoc surveillance was established to register COVID-19 death numbers in hospitals, long-term care facilities (LTCF) and the community. Belgium adopted broad inclusion criteria for the COVID-19 death notifications, also including possible cases, resulting in a robust correlation between COVID-19 and all-cause mortality.AimTo document and assess the COVID-19 mortality surveillance in Belgium.MethodsWe described the content and data flows of the registration and we assessed the situation as of 21 June 2020, 103 days after the first death attributable to COVID-19 in Belgium. We calculated the participation rate, the notification delay, the percentage of error detected, and the results of additional investigations.ResultsThe participation rate was 100% for hospitals and 83% for nursing homes. Of all deaths, 85% were recorded within 2 calendar days: 11% within the same day, 41% after 1 day and 33% after 2 days, with a quicker notification in hospitals than in LTCF. Corrections of detected errors reduced the death toll by 5%.ConclusionBelgium implemented a rather complete surveillance of COVID-19 mortality, on account of a rapid investment of the hospitals and LTCF. LTCF could build on past experience of previous surveys and surveillance activities. The adoption of an extended definition of 'COVID-19-related deaths' in a context of limited testing capacity has provided timely information about the severity of the epidemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epidemics , Belgium/epidemiology , Humans , Nursing Homes , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Nurs Open ; 9(2): 1181-1189, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588990

ABSTRACT

AIM: To evaluate the impact and the possible role of psychological resilience in the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak on healthcare workers' mental and physical well-being in Belgium. DESIGN: This cross-sectional, survey-based study enrolled 1376 healthcare workers across Belgium from 17 April 2020 to 24 April 2020. METHODS: The study sample consisted of direct care workers (nurses and doctors), supporting staff and management staff members. The main outcomes are resilience, distress and somatization. RESULTS: Higher educational level was associated with lower symptoms of distress and somatization. Physicians exhibited the lowest risk of experiencing heightened levels of distress and somatization. Controlling for confounding factors, higher levels of resilience were associated with a 12% reduced chance of increased distress levels and 5% lower chance of increased somatization levels. Our results suggest the potentially buffering role of mental resilience on those working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Belgium/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Drug Saf ; 44(12): 1375-1390, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1544606

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Seasonal influenza infects millions annually in Europe. Annual influenza vaccination is the most effective measure to reduce the risk of infection and its complications, especially among young children and older adults. OBJECTIVE: We assessed adverse event (AE) frequency after receiving GSK's inactivated quadrivalent seasonal influenza vaccine (IIV4). METHODS: A passive enhanced safety surveillance study was conducted in Belgium, Germany, and Spain. Adults who had received GSK's IIV4 or the parent(s)/guardian(s)/legally acceptable representative(s) of children given the vaccine were invited to complete an adverse drug reaction (ADR) card to document AEs experienced within 7 days post vaccination. RESULTS: A total of 1082 participants (51.6% females) received GSK's IIV4, including 115 children < 9 years of age who received two doses. The ADR card return rate was 97.0% (n = 1049) after dose 1 and 100% (n = 115) after dose 2. All participants in Belgium and Germany were adults. In Spain, 71.2% were children. After dose 1, 39.2% reported one or more AE. The most frequent AEs category was "general disorders and administration site conditions" (GDASC). AEs were most frequently reported in adults aged 18-65 years (47.2%), followed by children aged 6 months-17 years (38.1%), and adults aged > 65 years (31.6%). After dose 2, 7.8% reported one or more AE, and GDASC was again the most frequent AE category. There were no serious AEs related to GSK's IIV4 within 7 days post vaccination. CONCLUSION: No serious AEs related to GSK's IIV4 within 7 days post vaccination were reported. This study supports the favourable risk-benefit safety profile of GSK's IIV4.


Seasonal influenza infects millions annually in Europe, especially young children and older adults. Annual influenza vaccination is the most effective measure to reduce the risk of infection and its complications. As the wild influenza virus strains change every year, the composition of the influenza vaccine changes as well. Since the vaccine is produced in the same way over the years, extensive safety studies are no longer required by regulatory authorities. Instead, monitoring of any unwanted medical incidents (adverse events) after vaccination is required. For the 2019/2020 season, we monitored the adverse events reported by a representative sample of people in Belgium, Germany, and Spain within 7 days after receiving GSK's seasonal influenza vaccine.Of the 1082 people who received the first dose of the vaccine, 39% reported at least one adverse event, such as pain and swelling at the injection site, tiredness, fever, headache, or dizziness. A total of 115 children under 9 years of age received two doses 4 weeks apart. After their second dose, few of these children (8%) reported adverse events. The most frequent adverse events were fever, swelling and pain at the injection site, runny nose, or irritability. No serious adverse events were reported after either the first or second dose.No serious adverse events related to GSK's seasonal influenza vaccine within the 7 days after vaccination were reported. This study supports the favourable risk­benefit safety profile of GSK's seasonal influenza vaccine.


Subject(s)
Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions , Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , Aged , Belgium/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions/epidemiology , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Influenza Vaccines/adverse effects , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Male , Seasons , Spain/epidemiology , Vaccines, Inactivated/adverse effects
19.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(23)2021 11 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542532

ABSTRACT

Some occupational sectors, such as human health and care, food service, cultural and sport activities, have been associated with a higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection than other sectors. To curb the spread of SARS-CoV-2, it is preferable to apply targeted non-pharmaceutical interventions on selected economic sectors, rather than a full lockdown. However, the effect of these general and sector-specific interventions on the virus circulation has only been sparsely studied. We assess the COVID-19 incidence under different levels of non-pharmaceutical interventions per economic activity during the autumn 2020 wave in Belgium. The 14-day incidence of confirmed COVID-19 cases per the Statistical Classification of Economic Activities in the European Community (NACE-BEL) sector is modelled by a longitudinal Gaussian-Gaussian two-stage approach. This is based on exhaustive data on all employees in all sectors. In the presence of sanitary protocols and minimal non-pharmaceutical interventions, many sectors with close contact with others show considerably higher COVID-19 14-day incidences than other sectors. The effect of stricter non-pharmaceutical interventions in the general population and non-essential sectors is seen in the timing of the peak incidence and the width and height of the post-peak incidence. In most sectors incidences returned to higher levels after the peak than before and this decrease took longer for the health and care sector. Sanitary protocols for close proximity occupations may be sufficient during periods of low-level virus circulation, but progressively less with increasing circulation. Stricter general and sector-specific non-pharmaceutical interventions adequately decrease COVID-19 incidences, even in close proximity in essential sectors under solely sanitary protocols.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Belgium/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Occupations , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Geriatr Psychol Neuropsychiatr Vieil ; 19(4): 359-365, 2021 Dec 01.
Article in French | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528759

ABSTRACT

More than a third of humanity is currently under containment due to the coronavirus pandemic. Containment has been in place in many countries for several weeks. Health authorities are on the warpath against a still mysterious virus and for which they are brought to inform the population while being confronted with many unknowns concerning the Covid-19. So what about mental health? What can generate a situation of containment with the population in quarantine? What psychological impact will this confinement have on our elderly people who are accommodated in rest and care homes in Belgium or in Ehpad in France? Currently, we are not yet aware of French-language articles already published in the medical-psychological aspects related to the coronavirus among the population. We will try, through this article, to approach the medico-psychological question of the nursing staff within the nursing homes and the psychological impact of the residents.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nursing Staff , Aged , Belgium/epidemiology , France/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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