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08.09.2020 | COVID-19 | Miscellaneous Zur Zeit gratis

Results of a national web-based survey on the SARS-CoV-2 infectious state of otorhinolaryngologists in Germany

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Michael Herzog, Achim G. Beule, Jan-Christoffer Lüers, Orlando Guntinas-Lichius, Leigh J. Sowerby, Daniel Grafmans
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SARS-CoV-2 is detected on the mucosa of the upper airways to a high degree. In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, otorhinolaryngologists (ORL) are assumed to be at high risk due to close contact with the mucosa of the upper airways. No data are yet available providing evidence that ORLs have an increased risk of infection.


German ORLs were invited via e-mail through the German Society of ORL, Head and Neck Surgery and the German ENT Association to participate in a web-based survey about infection with SARS-CoV-2 and development of COVID-19. Data of infections and concomitant parameters in German ORLs were collected and compared to the total number of infections in Germany.


Out of 6383 German ORLs, 970 (15%) participated. 54 ORLs reported testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. Compared to the total population of Germany, ORLs have a relative risk of 3.67 (95% CI 2.82; 4.79) of contracting SARS-CoV-2. Domestic quarantine was conducted in 96.3% of cases. Two individuals were admitted to hospital without intensive care. No casualties were reported. In 31 cases, the source of infection was not identifiable whereas 23 had a clear medical aetiology: infected patients: n = 5, 9.26%; medical staff: n = 13, 14.1%. 9.26% (n = 5) of the identified cases were related to contact to infected family members (n = 3), closer neighbourhood (n = 1) or general public (n = 1). There was no identified increased risk of infection due to performing surgery.


German ORLs have an almost 3.7-fold risk of contracting SARS-CoV-2 compared to the population baseline level. Appropriate protection appears to be necessary for this occupational group.

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