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Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies frequency in non-Health Care Workers in a highly industrialized province of northern Italy
* 1 , 1 , 1 , 2 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 1
1  Department of Biomedical, Metabolic and Neural Sciences - University of Modena & Reggio Emilia
2  Department of Public Health, National Health Service, Modena, Italy


Health Care Workers (HCWs) are at high COVID-19 risk, but less data are available for the risk in other occupational activities (non-HCWs). We evaluated SARS-Cov-2 infection cumulative incidence, through anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies positivity (both IgG and IgM), in non-HCWs from the highly industrialized Modena province, northern Italy. Since May 2020, free serological testing campaigns were offered to the workers by several Italian companies, and also General Practitioners (GPs) were allowed to precribe free testing. The reporting of positive cases to the public health authority is compulsory. All the cases of anti-SARS-Cov-2 seropositivity occurred in non-HCWs and reported in Modena province in the period 18th May- 5th October 2020 were considered. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were found in 1103 workers, 371 from the screening campaigns performed in the companies, while the other 732 were notified by GPs. Considering the total number of non-HCWs in the province (245.000), the positive were the 0.45%. The proportion of non-HCWs engaged in different activities was: 44% in the manufacture sector, 14% in trade, 4% in transport, 4% in scientific and technical activities, 0,6% in arts, sports and recreation. The specific activities performed by the positive workers, available only for the cases notified within the companies’ screenings, were: 60% engaged in manufacture, 12% in trade sector, 9% in transport, 5% in scientific and technical activities, 4,5% in the arts, sports and recreation activities, and the 10,5% in other activities.

Even if these results should be interpreted with caution due to the small sample size, to the voluntariness of the screening campaign and to the restrictions of many activities during the lock-down of the Country to contrast the pandemic, our data show higher numbers of anti-SARS-CoV2 antibodies positivity in the manufacture, trade and in the art, sports/recreation sectors. Interestingly, in the latter activities the positivity rate was about eight times higher compared to the proportion of workers employed in this sector in the province.

Keywords: SARS-CoV2; Covid-19; SARS-CoV2 antibody; occupational exposure; occupational health; work-related risk