Background: Health workers (HWs) are at increased risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and a possible source of nosocomial transmission clusters. Despite the increased risk, the best surveillance strategy and management of exposed HWs are not yet well known. The aim of this review was to summarize and critically analyze the existing evidence related to this topic in order to support public health strategies aimed at protecting HWs in the hospital setting. Main text: A comprehensive computerized literature research from 1 January 2020 up to 22 May 2020 was made to identify studies analyzing the burden of infection, risk assessment, surveillance and management of HWs exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Among 1623 citation identified using MEDLINE, Embase, Google Scholar and manual search, we included 43 studies, 14 webpages and 5 ongoing trials. Health workers have a high risk of acquiring infection while caring for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. In particular, some types exposures and their duration, as well as the inadequate or non-use of personal protective equipment (PPE) are associated with increased infection risk. Strict infection prevention and control procedures (IPC), adequate training programs on the appropriate use of PPE and close monitoring of HWs with symptom surveillance and testing are essential to significantly reduce the risk. At the moment there is not enough evidence to provide precise indications regarding pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Conclusions: During the spread of COVID-19 outbreak, numerous published papers investigated the epidemiology, risk assessment and prevention and control of SARS-CoV-2. However, more high-quality studies are needed to provide valid recommendations for better management and for the clinical and microbiological surveillance of healthcare personnel.
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