Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 and assessment of epidemiologic determinants in Portuguese municipal workers
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University of Porto, Porto, Portugal (Faculty of Medicine)
University of Porto, Porto, Portugal (MEDCIDS – Department of Community Medicine, Information and Health Decision Sciences, Faculty of Medicine)
CINTESIS – Center for Health Technology and Services Research, Porto, Portugal
University of Porto, Porto, Portugal (IPATIMUP, Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology)
University of Porto, Porto, Portugal (Basic and Clinical Immunology Unit, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine)
Online publication date: 2022-02-07
Corresponding author
Nuno Barros Ferreira   

University of Porto, Faculty of Medicine, Alameda Prof. Hernâni Monteiro, Porto, Portugal
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2022;35(3):297-307
Objectives: To assess the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in municipal employees of Northern Portugal during the first pandemic wave (May–June 2020) and its association with potentially related risk factors for infection. Material and Methods: The authors assessed municipal employees of 2 cities in Northern Portugal, in whom serological tests to SARS-CoV-2 and an epidemiological survey were applied. The authors assessed the proportion of individuals presenting IgM and/or IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, and evaluated the association between having positive serological test results, epidemiologic variables and clinical presentations. Reported symptoms were evaluated on their sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values. Results: The authors assessed 1696 employees, of whom 22.0% were firefighters, 10.4% were police officers, 10.3% were maintenance workers, and 8.1% were administrative assistants. The seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was 2.9% (95% CI: 2.1–3.7%). Administrative assistants comprised the professional group with highest seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 (OR = 1.9 in the comparison with other occupational groups, 95% CI: 0.8–4.3, p = 0.126). The seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among those who were in direct contact with COVID-19 patients in their professional activity was 3.9%, compared to 2.7% among those who were not in direct contact with such patients (OR = 1.5, 95% CI: 0.8–2.8, p = 0.222). The highest risk of infection was associated with the presence of a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in the household (OR = 17.4, 95% CI: 8.3–36.8, p < 0.001). Living with a healthcare professional was not associated with a higher risk of infection (OR = 1.0, 95% CI: 0.4–2.5, p = 0.934). Anosmia/ dysgeusia was the symptom with the highest positive predictive value (52.2%, 95% CI: 31.8–72.6, p < 0.001) and specificity (99.3%, 95% CI: 98.9–99.7, p < 0.001), while cough was the most prevalent symptom among SARS-CoV-2 seropositive participants (36%). Conclusions: The authors observed a SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence of 2.9% among assessed municipal employees. Anosmia/dysgeusia was the COVID-19 symptom which displayed the highest positive predictive value and specificity. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2022;35(3):297–307
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