Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among oral health care workers worldwide: A meta-analysis

Community Dent Oral Epidemiol. 2022 Dec 28. doi: 10.1111/cdoe.12827. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: This systematic review aimed to answer the following question ‘What are the worldwide prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated factors among oral health-care workers (OHCWs) before vaccination?’

METHODS: Seven databases and registers as well as three grey databases were searched for observational studies in the field. Paired reviewers independently screened studies, extracted data and assessed the methodological quality. Overall seroprevalence for SARS-CoV-2 infection was analysed using a random-effect model subgrouped by professional category. Meta-regression was used to explore whether the Human Development Index (HDI) influenced the heterogeneity of results. The associated factors were narratively evaluated, and the certainty of the evidence was assessed using the GRADE approach.

RESULTS: Seventeen studies were included (five cohorts and twelve cross-sectional studies), summing 73 935 participants (54 585 dentists and 19 350 dental assistants/technicians) from 14 countries. The overall estimated pooled prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among OHCWs was 9.3% (95% CI, 5.0%-14.7%; I2 = 100%, p < .01), being 9.5% for dentists (95% CI, 5.1%-15.0%; I2 = 100%, p < .01) and 11.6% for dental assistants/technicians (95% CI, 1.6%-27.4%; I2 = 99.0%, p < .01). In the meta-regression, countries with lower HDI showed higher prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection (p = .002). Age, comorbidities, gender, ethnicity, occupation, smoking, living in areas of greater deprivation, job role and location/municipalities, income and protective measures in dental settings were associated with positive serological SARS-CoV-2 test, with very low certainty of evidence.

CONCLUSIONS: The SARS-CoV-2 virus infected 9.3% of the OHCWs evaluated worldwide before vaccination. OHCWs should be included in policy considerations, continued research, monitoring and surveillance (PROSPERO CRD42021246520).

PMID:36576013 | DOI:10.1111/cdoe.12827

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