Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which may be driven, in part, by nosocomial exposure. If HCW exposure is predominantly nosocomial, HCWs in paediatric facilities, where few patients are admitted with COVID-19, may lack antibodies to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and be at increased risk during the current resurgence. Aim: To compare the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 amongst HCWs in paediatric facilities in seven European countries and South Africa (N=8). Methods: All categories of paediatric HCWs were invited to participate in the study, irrespective of previous symptoms. A single blood sample was taken and data about previous symptoms were documented. Serum was shipped to a central laboratory in London where SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G was measured. Findings: In total, 4114 HCWs were recruited between 1st May and mid-July 2020. The range of seroprevalence was 0–16.93%. The highest seroprevalence was found in London (16.93%), followed by Cape Town, South Africa (10.36%). There were no positive HCWs in the Austrian, Estonian and Latvian cohorts; 2/300 [0.66%, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.18–2.4] HCWs tested positive in Lithuania; 1/124 (0.81%, 95% CI 0.14–4.3) HCWs tested positive in Romania; and 1/76 (1.3%, 95% CI 0.23–7.0) HCWs tested positive in Greece. Conclusion: Overall seroprevalence amongst paediatric HCWs is similar to their national populations and linked to the national COVID-19 burden. Staff working in paediatric facilities in low-burden countries have very low seroprevalence rates and thus are likely to be susceptible to COVID-19. Their susceptibility to infection may affect their ability to provide care in the face of increasing cases of COVID-19, and this highlights the need for appropriate preventative strategies in paediatric healthcare settings.
- Healthcare workers
- Hospital workers
Field of Science*
- 5.5 Law
- 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database