IgG serology in health care and administrative staff populations from 7 hospital representative of different exposures to SARS-CoV-2 in Lombardy, Italy

Abstract

Lombardy is one of the regions in Italy most affected by COVID-19. We assessed the diffusion of the virus via testing plasma anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in 3985 employees of 7 different hospitals, located across the Lombardy region in areas with different exposure to the epidemic. Subjects filled an anamnestic questionnaire to self-report on COVID-19 symptoms, co-morbidities, smoking, regular or smart-working, and the exposure to COVID-19-infected individuals. We show that the number of individuals exposed to the virus depended on the geographical area where the hospital was located and ranged between 3 to 43% which correlated with the incidence of COVID-19 in Lombardy. There was a higher prevalence of females than males positive for IgG, however the level of antibodies was similar, suggesting a comparable magnitude of the response. We observed 10% of IgG positive asymptomatic individuals and another 20% with one or two symptoms. 81% of individuals presenting both anosmia/ageusia and fever resulted SARS-CoV-2 infected. IgG positivity correlated with family contacts. In conclusion, the frequency of IgG positivity and SARS-CoV-2 infection is dependent on the geographical exposure to the virus and to extra-hospital exposure.

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