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Hospital-Wide SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Screening in 3056 Staff in a Tertiary Center in Belgium

Educational Objective
To understand the antibody count amongst the hospital staff in Belgium
1 Credit CME

Belgium has a high burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), especially the region surrounding the Hospital East-Limburg, a tertiary care center.1 Infection prevention measures were instituted in the hospital beginning March 4, 2020, including testing and contact tracing of all symptomatic patients and staff, changes in hospital operations, and provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The first case was detected March 13 (Figure 1). We investigated the prevalence of antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) among hospital staff.

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Article Information

Accepted for Publication: June 6, 2020.

Corresponding Author: Deborah Steensels, PharmD, PhD, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg, Schiepse Bos 6, 3600 Genk, Belgium (deborah.steensels@zol.be).

Published Online: June 15, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.11160

Author Contributions: Drs Steensels and Heylen had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Steensels, Oris, Nuyens, Heylen.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: Steensels, Oris, Coninx, Delforge, Vermeersch, Heylen.

Drafting of the manuscript: Steensels, Oris, Nuyens, Heylen.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Oris, Coninx, Delforge, Vermeersch, Heylen.

Statistical analysis: Steensels, Heylen.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Steensels, Oris, Coninx, Nuyens, Delforge, Vermeersch.

Supervision: Steensels, Heylen.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Additional Information: We thank the hospital board of directors for their financial and organizational support, and nursing director Kurt Surmont, MSc, RN (Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg), in particular. We thank Toon Schiemsky, MD, for data extraction and Joris Penders, MD, PhD (both at Ziekenhuis Oost-Limburg), for critical revision of the manuscript. None of these individuals received additional compensation beyond salary.

References
1.
Epidemiological situation of the coronavirus in Belgium: daily report of national and international situation. Sciensano. Accessed May 6, 2020. https://covid-19.sciensano.be/nl/covid-19-epidemiologische-situatie
2.
Van Elslande  J , Houben  E , Depypere  M ,  et al.  Diagnostic performance of 7 rapid IgG/IgM antibody tests and the Euroimmun IgA/IgG ELISA in COVID-19 patients.   Clin Microbiol Infect. Published online May 28, 2020. doi:10.1016/j.cmi.2020.05.023PubMedGoogle Scholar
3.
Bedford  J , Enria  D , Giesecke  J ,  et al; WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Infectious Hazards.  COVID-19: towards controlling of a pandemic.   Lancet. 2020;395(10229):1015-1018. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30673-5PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
4.
Abbasi  J .  The promise and peril of antibody testing for COVID-19.   JAMA. Published online April 17, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6170PubMedGoogle Scholar
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