A recent preprint - “Seroprevalence of SARS-COV-2 Antibodies in Scottish Healthcare Workers” reached the conclusion that:
healthcare workers were three times more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 than the general population.
Abstract from the paper:
Healthcare workers are believed to be at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The extent of that increased risk compared to the general population and the groups most at risk have not been extensively studied.
A prospective observational study of health and social care workers in NHS Tayside (Scotland, UK) from May to September 2020. The Siemens SARS-CoV-2 total antibody assay was used to establish seroprevalence in this cohort. Patients provided clinical information including demographics and workplace information. Controls, matched for age and sex to the general Tayside population, were studied for comparison.
A total of 2062 health and social care workers were recruited for this study. The participants were predominantly female (81.7%) and 95.2% were white. 299 healthcare workers had a positive antibody test (14.5%). 11 out of 231 control sera tested positive (4.8%).
Healthcare workers therefore had an increased likelihood of a positive test (odds ratio 3.4 95% CI 1.85-6.16, p<0.0001).
Dentists, healthcare assistants and porters were the job roles most likely to test positive.
Those working in front-line roles with COVID-19 patients were more likely to test positive (17.4% vs. 13.4%, p=0.02).
97.1% of patients who had previously tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR had positive antibodies, compared to 11.8% of individuals with a symptomatic illness who had tested negative.
Anosmia was the symptom most associated with the presence of detectable antibodies.
In this study, healthcare workers were three times more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 than the general population. The seroprevalence data in different populations identified in this study will be useful to protect healthcare staff during future waves of the pandemic.
Seroprevalence of SARS-COV-2 Antibodies in Scottish Healthcare Workers