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Research on Covid-infected HCWs: More health workers who took HCQ required hospitalisation

Health Care Workers (HCWs) who were a part of the study included consultant doctors, resident doctors, intern doctors, nursing staff, paramedic staff and other allied departments.

Written by Sohini Ghosh | Ahmedabad |
Updated: April 24, 2021 11:20:23 pm
covid hcw researchThe most commonly reported symptom, as reported by the 161 healthcare workers at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, was weakness followed by fever and headache. (Representational Image)

A STUDY undertaken by doctors at Ahmedabad’s BJ Medical College (BJMC) to look at the epidemiological and clinical profiles of healthcare workers at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital who were infected by the coronavirus disease, has found that a greater number of workers who were administered hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) had required hospitalisation.

The anti-malarial drug was widely prescribed as a prophylaxis at the beginning of the pandemic last year.

Until November 20 last year, the study recorded, 311 healthcare workers (HCW) had tested positive of the total 2,855 at the civil hospital, which was nearly one out of every 10 healthcare workers.

As a part of the study, conducted under lead author Dr Kartikeya Parmar, the associate professor at department of medicine at BJMC, a questionnaire was sent to all the 311 HCWs of whom 161 had responded. Dr Parmar has also been at the forefront of Covid-19 duty at the 1,200-bed Covid-19 designated unit at the civil hospital, the biggest facility in Gujarat.

Of the 161 infected healthcare workers who responded, about one-third said they had taken HCQ. Of them, 53 healthcare workers who took HCQ, which is 26.4 per cent or 14 HCWs, had required to be hospitalised “which was greater than among those who did not take HCQ prophylaxis, where 18.5 per cent required admission”, the study noted.

It also notes: “Despite using protective measures, it was observed in our study that healthcare providers were at increased risk of infection than the general population.”

Overall, among the 161 respondents, a total of 34 had required hospitalisation, a higher percentage than what was seen in other international studies. The authors have, however, highlighted that “this may be due the fact that initial hospital policy required all infected healthcare providers to get admitted. This policy was modified later.”

The most commonly reported symptom, as reported by the 161 healthcare workers at Ahmedabad Civil Hospital, was weakness followed by fever and headache.

Nearly 15 per cent — 24 of the 161 HCWs — also reported one or more comorbid conditions in the study which was “lower than the study conducted in Canada (where 29 per cent such respondent infected healthcare workers had one or more comorbidity) but higher than the Delhi study (10.6 per cent). Hypertension was the most common comorbidity reported, which was similar to the studies conducted in Canada and Delhi, where cardiovascular disease and hypertension were the common comorbid conditions reported respectively,” the study noted.

The study, published in National Journal of Community Medicine in February, recommended “a pre-placement examination of all workers should be carried out to segregate those having comorbid conditions and associated high-risk conditions and preventing severity of outcome”. It also added that adequate care should be taken of infected healthcare providers.

HCWs who were a part of the study included consultant doctors, resident doctors, intern doctors, nursing staff, paramedic staff and other allied departments.

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