First report on prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among health-care workers in Nicaragua

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From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 1)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 6,190 words
Lexile Measure: 1480L

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Abstract :

The Nicaraguan COVID-19 situation is exceptional for Central America. The government restricts testing and testing supplies, and the true extent of the coronavirus crisis remains unknown. Dozens of deaths have been reported among health-care workers. However, statistics on the crisis' effect on health-care workers and their risk of being infected with SARS-CoV-2 are lacking. We aimed to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in health-care workers and to examine correlations with risk factors such as age, sex and comorbidities. Study participants (N = 402, median age 38.48 years) included physicians, nurses and medical assistants, from public and private hospitals, independent of symptom presentation. SARS-CoV-2 was detected on saliva samples using the loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay. A questionnaire was employed to determine subjects' COVID-19-associated symptoms and their vulnerability to complications from risk factors such as age, sex, professional role and comorbidities. The study was performed five weeks into the exponential growth period in Nicaragua. We discovered that 30.35% of health-care workers participating in our study had been infected with SARS-CoV-2. A large percentage (54.92%) of those who tested positive were asymptomatic and were still treating patients. Nearly 50% of health-care workers who tested positive were under 40, an astonishing 30.33% reported having at least one comorbidity. In our study, sex and age are important risk factors for the probability of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 with significance being greatest among those between 30 and 40 years of age. In general, being male resulted in higher risk. Our data are the first non-governmental data obtained in Nicaragua. They shed light on several important aspects of COVID-19 in an underdeveloped nation whose government has implemented a herd-immunity strategy, while lacking an adequate healthcare system and sufficient PPE for health-care workers. These data are important for creating policies for containing the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A649826396