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A prospective study of risk factors associated with seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in healthcare workers at a large UK teaching hospital.

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Cooper, Daniel J 
Lear, Sara 
Watson, Laura 
Shaw, Ashley 
Ferris, Mark 


OBJECTIVES: To describe the risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK healthcare workers (HCWs). METHODS: We conducted a prospective sero-epidemiological study of HCWs at a major UK teaching hospital using a SARS-CoV-2 immunoassay. Risk factors for seropositivity were analysed using multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: 410/5,698 (7·2%) staff tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Seroprevalence was higher in those working in designated COVID-19 areas compared with other areas (9·47% versus 6·16%) Healthcare assistants (aOR 2·06 [95%CI 1·14-3·71]; p=0·016) and domestic and portering staff (aOR 3·45 [95% CI 1·07-11·42]; p=0·039) had significantly higher seroprevalence than other staff groups after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity and COVID-19 working location. Staff working in acute medicine and medical sub-specialities were also at higher risk (aOR 2·07 [95% CI 1·31-3·25]; p<0·002). Staff from Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds had an aOR of 1·65 (95% CI 1·32 - 2·07; p<0·001) compared to white staff; this increased risk was independent of COVID-19 area working. The only symptoms significantly associated with seropositivity in a multivariable model were loss of sense of taste or smell, fever, and myalgia; 31% of staff testing positive reported no prior symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection amongst HCWs is highly heterogeneous and influenced by COVID-19 working location, role, age and ethnicity. Increased risk amongst BAME staff cannot be accounted for solely by occupational factors.



COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, healthcare workers, risk factor analysis, sero-epidemiology, Antibodies, Viral, COVID-19, Health Personnel, Hospitals, Teaching, Humans, Prospective Studies, Risk Factors, SARS-CoV-2, Seroepidemiologic Studies, United Kingdom

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J Infect

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Elsevier BV
Wellcome Trust (207498/Z/17/Z)