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COVID-19 in Healthcare Workers: A Living Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prevalence, Risk Factors, Clinical Characteristics, and Outcomes

  • Gómez-Ochoa, Sergio Alejandro1, 2
  • Franco, Oscar H3
  • Rojas, Lyda Z1, 4
  • Raguindin, Peter Francis3, 5
  • Roa-Díaz, Zayne Milena3, 4
  • Wyssmann, Beatrice Minder3
  • Guevara, Sandra Lucrecia Romero6
  • Echeverría, Luis Eduardo7
  • Glisic, Marija3, 8
  • Muka, Taulant3
  • 1 Research Division, Cardiovascular Foundation of Colombia, Colombia , (Colombia)
  • 2 Public Health and Epidemiological Studies Group, Cardiovascular Foundation of Colombia, Colombia , (Colombia)
  • 3 University of Bern, Switzerland , (Switzerland)
  • 4 Research Institute, Colombia , (Colombia)
  • 5 University of the Philippines Manila, Philippines , (Philippines)
  • 6 Nursing School, Colombia , (Colombia)
  • 7 Chief, Heart Failure Clinic, Cardiovascular Foundation of Colombia, Colombia , (Colombia)
  • 8 Swiss Paraplegic Research, Nottwil, Switzerland , (Switzerland)
Published Article
American Journal of Epidemiology
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2020
DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwaa191
PMID: 32870978
PMCID: PMC7499478
PubMed Central


Health care workers (HCW) are at the frontline response to the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), being at a higher risk of acquiring the disease, and subsequently, exposing patients and colleagues. Searches in eight bibliographic databases were performed to systematically review the evidence on the prevalence, risk factors, clinical characteristics, and prognosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among HCW. Ninety-seven studies (All published in 2020), including 230,398 HCW, met the inclusion criteria. From the screened HCW using RT-PCR and the presence of antibodies, the estimated prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was 11% (95%CI; 7%-15%) and 7% (95% CI; 4%-11%), respectively. The most frequently affected personnel were the nurses (48%. 95%CI; 41%-56%), while most of the COVID-19 positive medical personnel were working in hospitalization/non-emergency wards during the screening (43%, 95%CI;28%-59%). Anosmia, fever and myalgia were identified as the only symptoms associated with HCW SARS-CoV-2 positivity. Among RT-PCR positive HCW, 40% (95%CI;17%-65%) did not show symptoms at the time of diagnosis. Finally, 5% (95%CI;3%-8%) of the COVID-19 positive HCW developed severe clinical complications, and 0.5% (95% CI; 0.02%-1.3%) died. HCW suffer a significant burden from COVID-19, with HCW working in hospitalization/non-emergency wards and nurses being the most infected personnel.

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