SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in Healthcare Workers in Germany : A Follow-Up Study

SARS-CoV-2 is a worldwide challenge for the medical sector. Healthcare workers (HCW) are a cohort vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection due to frequent and close contact with COVID-19 patients. However, they are also well trained and equipped with protective gear. The SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody status was assessed at three different time points in 450 HCW of the University Hospital Essen in Germany. HCW were stratified according to contact frequencies with COVID-19 patients in (I) a high-risk group with daily contacts with known COVID-19 patients (n = 338), (II) an intermediate-risk group with daily contacts with non-COVID-19 patients (n = 78), and (III) a low-risk group without patient contacts (n = 34). The overall seroprevalence increased from 2.2% in March-May to 4.0% in June-July to 5.1% in October-December. The SARS-CoV-2 IgG detection rate was not significantly different between the high-risk group (1.8%; 3.8%; 5.5%), the intermediate-risk group (5.1%; 6.3%; 6.1%), and the low-risk group (0%, 0%, 0%). The overall SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence remained low in HCW in western Germany one year after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Germany, and hygiene standards seemed to be effective in preventing patient-to-staff virus transmission.


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