COVID-19 risk factors among health workers: A rapid review

Lay Summary

Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) poses an important occupational health risk to health workers

(HWs) that has attracted global scrutiny. To date, several thousand HWs globally have been reported as

infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 virus that causes the disease. It is

therefore a public health priority for policymakers to understand risk factors for this vulnerable group to

avert occupational transmission. A rapid review was carried out on 20 April 2020 on Covid-19 risk factors

among HWs in PubMed, Google Scholar, and EBSCOHost Web (Academic Search Complete, CINAHL

Complete, MEDLINE with Full Text, CINAHL with Full Text, APA PsycInfo, Health SourcedConsumer

Edition, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition) and WHO Global Database. We also searched for

preprints on the medRxiv database. We searched for reports, reviews, and primary observational studies

(case-control, case-cross-over, cross-sectional, and cohort). The review included studies conducted

among HWs with Covid-19 that reported risk factors irrespective of their sample size. Eleven studies met

the inclusion criteria. Lack of personal protective equipment, exposure to infected patients, work overload,

poor infection control, and preexisting medical conditions were identified as risk factors for COVID-

19 among HWs. In the context of Covid-19, HWs face an unprecedented occupational risk of morbidity

and mortality. There is a need for rapid development of sustainable measures that protect HWs from the

pandemic.

Abstract

Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) poses an important occupational health risk to health workers

(HWs) that has attracted global scrutiny. To date, several thousand HWs globally have been reported as

infected with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 virus that causes the disease. It is

therefore a public health priority for policymakers to understand risk factors for this vulnerable group to

avert occupational transmission. A rapid review was carried out on 20 April 2020 on Covid-19 risk factors

among HWs in PubMed, Google Scholar, and EBSCOHost Web (Academic Search Complete, CINAHL

Complete, MEDLINE with Full Text, CINAHL with Full Text, APA PsycInfo, Health SourcedConsumer

Edition, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition) and WHO Global Database. We also searched for

preprints on the medRxiv database. We searched for reports, reviews, and primary observational studies

(case control, case-cross-over, cross-sectional, and cohort). The review included studies conducted

among HWs with Covid-19 that reported risk factors irrespective of their sample size. Eleven studies met

the inclusion criteria. Lack of personal protective equipment, exposure to infected patients, work overload,

poor infection control, and preexisting medical conditions were identified as risk factors for COVID-

19 among HWs. In the context of Covid-19, HWs face an unprecedented occupational risk of morbidity

and mortality. There is a need for rapid development of sustainable measures that protect HWs from the

pandemic.

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