A Cross-Sectional Study of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies and Risk Factors for Seropositivity in Staff in Day Care Facilities and Preschools in Denmark

Kamille Fogh, Alexandra R R Eriksen, Tine Graakjær Larsen, Rasmus B Hasselbalch, Henning Bundgaard, Bibi F S S Scharff, Susanne D Nielsen, Charlotte S Jørgensen, Christian Erikstrup, Lars Østergaard, Svend Ellermann-Eriksen, Berit Andersen, Henrik Nielsen, Isik S Johansen, Lothar Wiese, Lotte Hindhede, Susan Mikkelsen, Susanne G Sækmose, Bitten Aagaard, Dorte K HolmLene Harritshøj, Lone Simonsen, Thea K Fischer, Fredrik Folke, Freddy Lippert, Sisse R Ostrowski, Thomas Benfield, Kåre Mølbak, Steen Ethelberg, Anders Koch, Anne-Marie Vangsted, Tyra Grove Krause, Anders Fomsgaard, Henrik Ullum, Robert Skov, Kasper Iversen

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The aim of this study was to provide information about immunity against COVID-19 along with risk factors and behavior among employees in day care facilities and preschools (DCS) in Denmark. In collaboration with the Danish Union of Pedagogues, during February and March 2021, 47,810 members were offered a point-of-care rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody test (POCT) at work and were invited to fill in an electronic questionnaire covering COVID-19 exposure. Seroprevalence data from Danish blood donors (total Ig enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA]) were used as a proxy for the Danish population. A total of 21,018 (45%) DCS employees completed the questionnaire and reported their POCT result {median age, 44.3 years (interquartile range [IQR], [32.7 to 53.6]); females, 84.1%}, of which 20,267 (96.4%) were unvaccinated and included in analysis. A total of 1,857 (9.2%) participants tested seropositive, significantly higher than a seroprevalence at 7.6% (risk ratio [RR], 1.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14 to 1.27) among 40,541 healthy blood donors (median age, 42 years [IQR, 28 to 53]; males, 51.3%). Exposure at work (RR, 2.9; 95% CI, 2.3 to 3.6) was less of a risk factor than exposure within the household (RR, 12.7; 95% CI, 10.2 to 15.8). Less than 25% of participants reported wearing face protection at work. Most of the participants expressed some degree of fear of contracting COVID-19 both at work and outside work. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was slightly higher in DCS staff than in blood donors, but possible exposure at home was associated with a higher risk than at work. DCS staff expressed fear of contracting COVID-19, though there was limited use of face protection at work. IMPORTANCE Identifying at-risk groups and evaluating preventive interventions in at-risk groups is imperative for the ongoing pandemic as well as for the control of future epidemics. Although DCS staff have a much higher risk of being infected within their own household than at their workplace, most are fearful of being infected with COVID-19 or bringing COVID-19 to work. This represents an interesting dilemma and an important issue which should be addressed by public health authorities for risk communication and pandemic planning. This study design can be used in a strategy for ongoing surveillance of COVID-19 immunity or other infections in the population. The findings of this study can be used to assess the need for future preventive interventions in DCS, such as the use of personal protective equipment.

TidsskriftMicrobiology Spectrum
Udgave nummer1
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 14. feb. 2023


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