Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences

Document Type : Original Article(s)

Authors

1 Thoracic and Vascular Surgery Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Student Research Committee, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Anesthesiology and Critical Care Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

4 Clinical Microbiology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

5 Department of Community Medicine, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

6 Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Center of Disease Control (CDC), Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

7 Department of Anesthesiology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

8 Trauma Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

Abstract

Background: Even though a few years have passed since the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, information regarding certain aspects of the disease, such as post-infection immunity, is still quite limited. This study aimed to evaluate post-infection protection and COVID-19 features among healthcare workers (HCWs), during three successive surges, as well as the rate of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reinfection, reactivation, re-positivity, and severity.
Methods: This cross-sectional population-level observational study was conducted from 20 April 2020 to 18 February 2021. The study population included all HCWs in public or private hospitals in Fars Province, Southern Iran. The infection rate was computed as the number of individuals with positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests divided by the total number of person-days at risk. The re-infection was evaluated after 90 days. 
Results: A total of 30,546 PCR tests were performed among HCWs, of which 13,749 (61.94% of total HCWs) were positive. Considering the applied 90-day threshold, there were 44 (31.2%) cases of reactivation and relapse, and 97 (68.8% of infected and 1.81% of total HCWs) cases of reinfection among 141 (2.64%) diagnosed cases who experienced a second episode of COVID-19. 
There was no significant difference in symptoms (P=0.65) or the necessity for ICU admission (P=0.25). The estimated protection against repeated infection after a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection was 94.8% (95% CI=93.6-95.7).
Conclusion: SARS-CoV-2 re-positivity, relapse, and reinfection were rare in the HCW population. After the first episode of infection, an estimated 94.8% protection against recurring infections was achieved.

Keywords

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