ORIGINAL PAPER
Occupational risks for SARS-CoV-2 infection: the Polish experience
 
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1
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University, Warsaw, Poland (Collegium Medicum)
2
Medical Research Agency, Warsaw, Poland
3
Centre of Postgraduate Medical Education, Warsaw, Poland (School of Public Health)
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Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland (Department of Public Health)
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Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Tariff System, Warsaw, Poland
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Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland (Collegium Medicum, Faculty of Health Sciences)
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National Institute of Cardiology, Warsaw, Poland (Department of Cardiac Arrhythmia)
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Jaroslaw Pinkas   

Centre of Postgraduate Medical Education, School of Public Health, Kleczewska 61/63, 01-826 Warsaw, Poland
Online publication date: 2020-07-22
 
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ABSTRACT
Objectives: The disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), termed COVID-19, is asymptomatic or mild in most cases. These patients do not need treatment in hospital and can be isolated at home. To date, most studies have been conducted among inpatients with severe COVID-19. In this study, the authors surveyed patients with mild COVID-19 who remained in home isolation, and analyzed the sources and occupational risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infections. Material and Methods: This cross-sectional study was carried out on April 17–18, 2020, among patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 who remained in home isolation in Poland. Data were acquired through a structured interview that included questions about the isolation course, symptoms, comorbidities, infection source, household characteristics, occupation, and workplace. Data were presented with descriptive statistics. Results: Of the 4878 patients in home isolation, the authors were able to contact 3313. Of them, 1191 patients declined their invitation, and 2122 agreed to take part. The median age of the patients included in the study was 50 years; 59% were female. Most patients (92%) had not been abroad before the infection. More than half (55%) knew how they became infected; of them, 75% became infected at work. Of all patients, 70% were occupationally active. Nearly half of the occupationally active patients (48%) worked in healthcare, 3% worked in public administration or defense, 3% worked in transportation, and 2% worked in education. Sixty-five percent of the occupationally active patients worked in companies with >100 employees. Conclusions: Most of the patients with COVID-19 in home isolation in Poland were occupationally active, wherein the majority of people who were aware of the source of SARS-CoV-2 infection worked in healthcare. As most of the infected patients worked in companies with >100 employees, which is not a Polish employment pattern, the authors expect that smaller companies may have a lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infections.
eISSN:1896-494X
ISSN:1232-1087