Rofo 2021; 193(05): 537-543
DOI: 10.1055/a-1393-6668
Health Policy and Evidence Based Medicine

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
Thomas Finkenzeller
1  Department of Radiology and Neuroradiology, Hospital Weiden, Germany
,
Stephan Lenhart
1  Department of Radiology and Neuroradiology, Hospital Weiden, Germany
,
Mark Reinwald
2  Department of Hematology and Oncology, Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, Brandenburg a. d. Havel, Germany
,
Stefan Lüth
3  Clinic for Gastroenterology, Diabetology & Hepatology, Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, Brandenburg a. d. Havel, Germany
,
Lena Marie Dendl
4  Department of Radiology, Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, Treuenbrietzen, Germany, Department of Radiology, Johanniter Specialty Clinic Treuenbrietzen, Treuenbrietzen, Germany
8  Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, Brandenburg a. d. Havel, Germany
,
Christian Paetzel
1  Department of Radiology and Neuroradiology, Hospital Weiden, Germany
,
5  Institute for Information Engineering, Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences, Wolfenbüttel, Germany
,
Frank Klawonn
6  Biostatistics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany
,
Alexander Von Meyer
7  Institute for Laboratory Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Technical Hygienics, Munich Municipal Hospital Group, München, Germany
,
Andreas G. Schreyer
8  Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Brandenburg Medical School Theodor Fontane, Brandenburg a. d. Havel, Germany
› Author Affiliations

Abstract

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.

Key Points:

  • 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.

Citation Format

  • 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



Publication History

Received: 30 November 2020

Accepted: 09 February 2021

Publication Date:
10 March 2021 (online)

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