SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence among Healthcare Workers after the First and Second Pandemic Waves

Viruses. 2022 Jul 14;14(7):1535. doi: 10.3390/v14071535.


Background: The Grand Hôpital de Charleroi is a large non-academic Belgian hospital that treated a large number of COVID-19 inpatients. In the context of this pandemic, all professions-combined healthcare workers (HCWs), and not only direct caregivers, are a frontline workforce in contact with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases and seem to be a high-risk group for exposure. The aim of our study was to estimate the prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in HCWs in our hospital after the first and second pandemic waves and to characterize the distribution of this seroprevalence in relation to various criteria. Methods: At the end of the two recruitment periods, a total of 4008 serological tests were performed in this single-center cross-sectional study. After completing a questionnaire including demographic and personal data, possible previous COVID-19 diagnostic test results and/or the presence of symptoms potentially related to COVID-19, the study participants underwent blood sampling and serological testing using DiaSorin's LIAISON® SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 IgG test for the first phase and LIAISON® SARS-CoV-2 TrimericS IgG test for the second phase of this study. Results: In total, 302 study participants (10.72%) in the first round of the study and 404 (33.92%) in the second round were positive for SARS-CoV-2-IgG antibodies. The prevalence of seropositivity observed after the second wave was 3.16 times higher than after the first wave. We confirmed that direct, prolonged, and repeated contact with patients or their environment was a predominant seroconversion factor, but more unexpectedly, that this was the case for all HCWs and not only caregivers. Finally, the notion of high-risk contact seemed more readily identifiable in one's workplace than in one's private life. Conclusions: Our study confirmed that HCWs are at a significantly higher risk of contracting COVID-19 than the general population, and suggests that repeated contacts with at-risk patients, regardless of the HCWs' professions, represents the most important risk factor for seroconversion ( number, NCT04723290).

Keywords: Belgium; SARS-CoV-2; healthcare workers; pandemic waves; seroprevalence.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Pandemics*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G

Associated data


Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.