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Prevalence of COVID-19 among healthcare workers in the paediatric department: Estimates from a multicenter cross-sectional survey in Negeri Sembilan.

INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic has reached a phase where many have been infected at least once. Healthcare workers were not spared from being infected. This study aimed to determine the period prevalence of COVID-19 among the paediatric healthcare workers in Negeri Sembilan as the country transitioned into an endemic phase of the pandemic. Additionally, we investigate potential sociodemographic and occupational characteristics associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare workers.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted among the healthcare workers in the paediatric department at three public specialist hospitals in Negeri Sembilan between 15 and 21 April 2022. Data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire.

RESULTS: Out of the 504 eligible healthcare workers, 493 participated in this study (response rate 97.8%). The overall prevalence of COVID-19 (11 March 2020-15 April 2022) among healthcare workers was 50.9%. The majority (80.1%) were infected during the Omicron wave two months before the survey. Household contacts accounted for 35.9% of infection sources. The proportion of non-doctors in the COVID-19-infected group was significantly higher compared to the non-infected group (74.1% vs 64.0%, p=0.016). The COVID-19-infected group had a higher proportion of schoolgoing children (44.6% vs 30.6%, p=0.001) and children who attended pre-school/sent to the babysitter (49.0% vs 24.4%, p<0.001). There were no significant differences between infection rates among the healthcare workers working in the tertiary hospital and the district hospitals. There were also no significant differences in the proportion of COVID-19- infected doctors and nurses when analysed by seniority.

CONCLUSION: Our study provided an estimate on the prevalence of COVID-19 among paediatric healthcare workers in Negeri Sembilan and the factors associated with infection, which captures the extent and magnitude of this pandemic on the state's paediatric department. Most infections resulted from household contact, with a higher proportion of infected healthcare workers having young children.

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