Association between SARS-CoV-2 and exposure risks in health care workers and university employees – a cross-sectional study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background

In health care workers SARS-CoV-2 has been shown to be an occupational health risk, often associated with transmission between health care workers. Yet, insufficient information on transmission dynamics has been presented to elucidate the precise risk factors for contracting SARS-CoV-2 in this group.
Methods

In this cross-sectional study, we investigated association between questionnaire answers on potential exposure situations and SARS-CoV-2-positivity. Health care workers with and without COVID-19-patient contact at nine units at Skåne University Hospitals in Malmö and Lund, Sweden and university employees from Lund University, Sweden were enrolled. To limit impact of health care worker to health care worker transmission, units with known outbreaks were excluded. A SARS-CoV-2-positive case was defined by a previous positive PCR or anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG in the ZetaGene COVID-19 Antibody Test.
Results

SARS-CoV-2-positivity was detected in 11/51 (22%) health care workers in COVID-19-units, 10/220 (5%) in non-COVID-19-units and 11/192 (6%) University employees (p = .001, Fischer’s exact). In health care workers, SARS-CoV-2-positivity was associated with work in a designated COVID-19-unit (OR 5.7 (95CI 2.1–16)) and caring for COVID-19-patients during the majority of shifts (OR 5.4 (95CI 2.0–15)). In all participants, SARS-CoV-2-positivity was associated with a confirmed COVID-19 case (OR 10 (95CI 2.0–45)) in the household.
Conclusion

Our study confirmed previous findings of elevated risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 in health care workers in COVID-19-units, despite exclusion of units with known outbreaks. Interestingly, health care workers in non-COVID-19-units had similar risk as University employees. Further measures to improve the safety of health care workers might be needed.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Infectious Medicine
Original languageEnglish
JournalInfectious Diseases
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2021
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes