WEDNESDAY, Aug. 24, 2022 (HealthDay News) — More than half of adults with a recent COVID-19 omicron variant infection were unaware of their infectious status, according to a study published online Aug. 17 in JAMA Network Open.

Sandy Y. Joung, M.H.D.S., from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues examined awareness of infectious status among 210 adult employees and patients of an academic medical center during the recent omicron variant surge. Adults had serological evidence of new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection occurring during the omicron variant surge period (Dec. 15, 2021, through May 4, 2022) based on serial antinucleocapsid immunoglobulin G antibody measurements.

The researchers found that 44 percent of participants showed awareness of any recent omicron variant infection, and 56 percent reported being unaware of their infectious status. Of the 118 unaware participants, 10 percent reported having had any symptoms, which they attributed to a common cold or other non-SARS-CoV-2 infection. When adjusting for demographic and clinical characteristics, participants who were health care employees were more likely than nonemployees to be aware of their recent omicron variant infection (adjusted odds ratio, 2.46).

“Unawareness may be a highly prevalent factor associated with rapid person-to-person transmission within communities,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to diagnostic and pharmaceutical companies.

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