Risk to Radiology Staff for Occupational COVID-19 Infection in a High-Risk and a Low-Risk Region in Germany: Lessons from the “First Wave”Article in several languages: English | deutsch
Purpose The recent COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an increasing overload of the medical system. Healthcare workers (HCW) in radiology departments are exposed to a high infection risk similar to HCWs in the ICU or dedicated COVID wards. The goal of our paper is to evaluate the prevalence of IgG antibody against SARS-CoV-2 among radiology HCWs in two different hospitals and regions in Germany with a low and high COVID-19 prevalence and to compare it to the prevalence in other clinical personnel. Additionally, we assessed the number of radiological procedures performed in patients with a positive PCR test (C+) followed by a short review of the risk for nosocomial infections of radiology HCWs.
Materials and Methods During the first COVID-19 wave between March and July 2020, we evaluated a region with one of the highest COVID-19 rates (776–1570/100 000) in Germany (Hospital A). Additionally, we assessed Hospital B in a region with a low prevalence (65/100 000). We tested the serum prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies among the whole staff with a subgroup analysis for radiology in both hospitals. We calculated the total number of different radiological procedures performed in C+ patients.
Results In Hospital A 594 PCR-proven C+ patients were treated resulting in 2723 radiological procedures. 24 % (n = 6) of the radiology technicians and 13.35 (n = 2) of radiologists had a positive IgG test. The rates were similar to positive rates in HCWs in COVID-19 wards and ICUs within the hospital. The most frequently performed procedures in C+ patients were chest X-rays (3.17/patient) and CT examinations (1.15/patient). In Hospital B 50 C+ patients were treated, resulting in 64 radiological procedures. None of the HCWs tested IgG positive. The most frequently performed examinations were also chest X-rays (1.04/patient) and CT (0.2/patient).
Conclusion HCWs in radiology have a high occupational infection risk similar to that of HCWs in ICUs and dedicated COVID wards.
The risk of acquiring COVID-19 increases with the amount of contact with infected individuals.
The occupational risk of a SARS-CoV-2 infection for radiology staff is similar to that of nurses and physicians in COVID wards.
Hygiene concepts and medical resources have to be adapted for further COVID outbreaks.
Reporting of an occupational disease can be considered in the case of seropositive staff.
Finkenzeller T, Lenhart S, Reinwald M et al. Risk to Radiology Staff for Occupational COVID-19 Infection in a High-Risk and a Low-Risk Region in Germany: Lessons from the “First Wave”. Fortschr Röntgenstr 2021; 193: 537 – 543
Received: 30 November 2020
Accepted: 09 February 2021
10 March 2021 (online)
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Georg Thieme Verlag KG
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