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      Does Pandemic Anxiety Affect Urology Health Care Workers?


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          To assess anxiety, stress level, and perception of safety during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in health care workers (HCWs) of one of Germany's largest urology university clinics.


          A cross-sectional study among urological HCWs was performed. HCWs were surveyed for anxiety about the pandemic, stress level and current workload, fear of coronavirus infection, current perception of safety at work, and attitude towards protective equipment and tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).


          Sixty-three HCWs filled in the questionnaire. Overall anxiety of infection with CO­VID-19 is at a median of 4.7 with no statistically significant difference between nurses and physicians ( p = 0.0749). Safety at work reaches a median of 6 out of 10. In fact, the highest fear in 56.7% (31/63) of the personnel is to get infected by a colleague tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 despite wearing surgical face masks. A proportion of 55.7 and 74.6% highly favor swabs for SARS-CoV-2 on a regular basis in HCWs and patients, respectively ( p = 0.0001). Workload in the urology department is clearly reduced during the pandemic (physicians 39.3% vs. nurses 32.2%, p = 0.0001) and 57.4% do not feel distress at all; only 27.9% express mental distress.


          During the pandemic, urology HCWs perceive lower burden by workload and deem themselves at low risk of infection. However, the greatest anxiety is related to infection by a SARS-CoV-2-positive colleague, despite reciprocal protection by surgical face masks. This highlights a relevant mental stress and uncertainty towards management of infected HCWs, calling for increased education and psychological support.

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          Most cited references21

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          Clinical Characteristics of 138 Hospitalized Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China

          In December 2019, novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)-infected pneumonia (NCIP) occurred in Wuhan, China. The number of cases has increased rapidly but information on the clinical characteristics of affected patients is limited.
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            Is Open Access

            Factors Associated With Mental Health Outcomes Among Health Care Workers Exposed to Coronavirus Disease 2019

            Key Points Question What factors are associated with mental health outcomes among health care workers in China who are treating patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Findings In this cross-sectional study of 1257 health care workers in 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 in multiple regions of China, a considerable proportion of health care workers reported experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress, especially women, nurses, those in Wuhan, and front-line health care workers directly engaged in diagnosing, treating, or providing nursing care to patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Meaning These findings suggest that, among Chinese health care workers exposed to COVID-19, women, nurses, those in Wuhan, and front-line health care workers have a high risk of developing unfavorable mental health outcomes and may need psychological support or interventions.
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              Transmission of 2019-nCoV Infection from an Asymptomatic Contact in Germany

              To the Editor: The novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from Wuhan is currently causing concern in the medical community as the virus is spreading around the world. 1 Since identification of the virus in late December 2019, the number of cases from China that have been imported into other countries is on the rise, and the epidemiologic picture is changing on a daily basis. We are reporting a case of 2019-nCoV infection acquired outside Asia in which transmission appears to have occurred during the incubation period in the index patient. A 33-year-old otherwise healthy German businessman (Patient 1) became ill with a sore throat, chills, and myalgias on January 24, 2020. The following day, a fever of 39.1°C (102.4°F) developed, along with a productive cough. By the evening of the next day, he started feeling better and went back to work on January 27. Before the onset of symptoms, he had attended meetings with a Chinese business partner at his company near Munich on January 20 and 21. The business partner, a Shanghai resident, had visited Germany between January 19 and 22. During her stay, she had been well with no signs or symptoms of infection but had become ill on her flight back to China, where she tested positive for 2019-nCoV on January 26 (index patient in Figure 1) (see Supplementary Appendix, available at NEJM.org, for details on the timeline of symptom development leading to hospitalization). On January 27, she informed the company about her illness. Contact tracing was started, and the above-mentioned colleague was sent to the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine in Munich for further assessment. At presentation, he was afebrile and well. He reported no previous or chronic illnesses and had no history of foreign travel within 14 days before the onset of symptoms. Two nasopharyngeal swabs and one sputum sample were obtained and were found to be positive for 2019-nCoV on quantitative reverse-transcriptase–polymerase-chain-reaction (qRT-PCR) assay. 2 Follow-up qRT-PCR assay revealed a high viral load of 108 copies per milliliter in his sputum during the following days, with the last available result on January 29. On January 28, three additional employees at the company tested positive for 2019-nCoV (Patients 2 through 4 in Figure 1). Of these patients, only Patient 2 had contact with the index patient; the other two patients had contact only with Patient 1. In accordance with the health authorities, all the patients with confirmed 2019-nCoV infection were admitted to a Munich infectious diseases unit for clinical monitoring and isolation. So far, none of the four confirmed patients show signs of severe clinical illness. This case of 2019-nCoV infection was diagnosed in Germany and transmitted outside Asia. However, it is notable that the infection appears to have been transmitted during the incubation period of the index patient, in whom the illness was brief and nonspecific. 3 The fact that asymptomatic persons are potential sources of 2019-nCoV infection may warrant a reassessment of transmission dynamics of the current outbreak. In this context, the detection of 2019-nCoV and a high sputum viral load in a convalescent patient (Patient 1) arouse concern about prolonged shedding of 2019-nCoV after recovery. Yet, the viability of 2019-nCoV detected on qRT-PCR in this patient remains to be proved by means of viral culture. Despite these concerns, all four patients who were seen in Munich have had mild cases and were hospitalized primarily for public health purposes. Since hospital capacities are limited — in particular, given the concurrent peak of the influenza season in the northern hemisphere — research is needed to determine whether such patients can be treated with appropriate guidance and oversight outside the hospital.

                Author and article information

                Urol Int
                Urol Int
                Urologia Internationalis
                S. Karger AG (Allschwilerstrasse 10, P.O. Box · Postfach · Case postale, CH–4009, Basel, Switzerland · Schweiz · Suisse, Phone: +41 61 306 11 11, Fax: +41 61 306 12 34, karger@karger.com )
                21 January 2021
                : 1-7
                Klinik und Poliklinik für Urologie, Klinikum der Universität München, Munich, Germany
                Author notes
                *Jozefina Casuscelli, Department of Urology, LMU Klinikum, Ludwig Maximilian University, Marchioninistraße 15, DE–81377 München (Germany), jozefina.casuscelli@ 123456med.uni-muenchen.de
                Copyright © 2021 by S. Karger AG, Basel

                This article is made available via the PMC Open Access Subset for unrestricted re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic or until permissions are revoked in writing. Upon expiration of these permissions, PMC is granted a perpetual license to make this article available via PMC and Europe PMC, consistent with existing copyright protections.

                : 4 July 2020
                : 4 November 2020
                Page count
                Figures: 2, References: 24, Pages: 7
                Original Paper

                covid-19,transmission,pandemic,health care workers,personal protective equipment,anxiety


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