The following is a summary of “Incidence of unknown COVID-19 infection in a cohort of emergency physicians and advance practice providers,” published in the December 2022 issue of Emergency Medicine by Barksdale, et al.

The COVID-19 epidemic had affected healthcare professionals in the United States since February 2020. There has been little research on the prevalence of unknown COVID-19 infections in doctors and Advanced Practitioner Providers (APPs) working in emergency departments (EDs) since the introduction of COVID-19 vaccinations. For a study, researchers sought to find the prevalence of COVID-19 infection among a group of emergency physicians (EPs) and APPs.

Prospective observational research at a tertiary academic setting with an emergency medicine residency and 64,000 ED visits per year. EPs/APPs who treated ED patients in the previous 12 months were qualified. The serum samples were collected between May 1 and June 30, 2022. For the purpose of analysis, antibodies to the nucleocapsid, receptor-binding domain, and spike subunit 1 were measured using the Luminex xMAP® SARS-CoV-2 Multi-Antigen IgG Assay. A mean fluorescent intensity (MFI) ≥700 was seen as favorable. Subjects responded to a 12-question survey that evaluated their demographics and history of known COVID-19 infection. With verified COVID-19 status, relationships between demographic and clinical factors were assessed using Fisher’s exact test. SAS 9.4 was used for the analyses, and P< 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

About 69 out of 81 eligible participants (85.2%) took part; 58.0% were men, 97.1% were white, and the average age was 37. With 17.7% unknown, 18 individuals had MFI ≥700 that were strongly indicative of past infection. There was no statistically significant difference between household members who have had COVID-19 infection in the past and those who have not.

In the EPs/APPs, unidentified prior COVID-19 infection was less common than anticipated, and there was no correlation with personal traits, previously infected household members, or young children living there.