Korean J healthc assoc Infect Control Prev 2021; 26(1): 24-30
Published online June 30, 2021 https://doi.org/10.14192/kjicp.2021.26.1.24
Copyright © Korean Society for Healthcare-associated infection Control and Prevention
Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Internal Medicine, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital1, Research Institute for Convergence of Biomedical Science and Technology, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital2, Yangsan, Masan Medical Center3, Changwon, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Pusan National University of Yangsan Hospital4, Division of Pulmonology, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Pusan National University Yangsan Hospital5, Yangsan, Korea
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0).
Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) involved in the care of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV- 2) are at risk of being infected. This study aimed to investigate the seropositivity of SARS-CoV-2 among the HCWs.
Methods: From June to July 2020, 151 serum samples of HCWs involved in the care of COVID- 19 patients from two hospitals in South Gyeongsang Province, South Korea, were collected to test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies. Epidemiologic data were collected using a questionnaire.
Results: Among the 151 HCWs, 3 (2.0%) had detectable SARS-CoV-2 IgG. Two of them were nurses working in the COVID-19 ward of the first hospital and had no direct contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients without personal protective equipment (PPE). The other HCW worked at the infection prevention office and was 6 weeks pregnant at the time of the study. In this study, 19 participants self-reported 33 episodes of contamination during PPE removal, but none of them tested positive.
Conclusion: This study reported a seropositivity rate of 2.0% for SARS-CoV-2 IgG among HCWs. Following the exclusion of an HCW with a suspected false-positive result, the adjusted rate was 1.3%, which was higher than that reported at approximately the same time in the community (0.07%). However, there was no evidence of viral transmission among the colleagues of that HCW in this study. Standard precautions, proper monitoring, and PPE use could help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in hospital settings.
Keywords: COVID-19, HCWs, SARS-CoV-2, Seropositivity
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