Up to one-third of Czech COVID cases work related
According to the head of the Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology of the 1st Medical Faculty of Charles University, Milan Tuček, up to a third of Czechs who had covid-19 last year could become infected at work. Most often it was paramedics and teachers, the faculty informed in a press release. Last year, by the end of the year, more than 730,000 people had been infected with the new type of coronavirus, to date almost 1.7 million. About 150 people, mostly paramedics, were recognized as an occupational disease last year by covid-19. Hundreds are already applying this year.
In addition to doctors, nurses, teachers, and social workers, the professions with the most common occupational diseases include mechanics, civil servants, miners. Of last year’s 732,000 cases registered in the Infectious Diseases Information System (ISIN) managed by the Institute of Health Information and Statistics (IHIS), about nine percent (64,587) were classified as “probable occupational diseases” based on the proven presence of the virus in the workplace.
Another more than 184,000 people, a quarter of all cases, are classified as “working contact”, where the infected person has been in contact with coronavirus in the workplace, but direct infection cannot be expected with certainty.
“As the number of cases increased in the autumn, the number of out-of-office infections also increased. Out-of-work infections prevailed, but overall about a third of those infected could be infected at work with covid-19. measures at workplaces make great sense, “said the head of Tuček.
“With the growing number of cases, it is difficult to trace and thus determine the sites of coronavirus transmission. However, we can read from the information in the ISIN register how often infections could have occurred in the workplace or in the performance of the profession,” he added. He published his findings in the Central European Journal of Public Health.
Under precisely defined conditions, covid-19 can be recognized as an occupational disease, but according to Tuček, the infected people often did not realize it or did not know about the possibility that enabled them to claim compensation. “The mere fact that you work in a hospital is not enough to acknowledge the increased risk of infection,” he added.
It is necessary to document from the medical documentation the clinical picture of the disease, laboratory evidence of the disease in the form of antigen or PCR test and the epidemiologist of the hygiene station must recognize that there is an increased risk of disease transmission at the workplace compared to the normal risk in the population. Most often, covid-19 was recognized as an occupational disease by healthcare professionals who treated covid patients or worked with incriminated biological material.
But this year, according to Tuček, the number of requests is increasing. Hundreds of applications are already registered in the individual regions by health departments authorized by the Ministry, mostly in teaching hospitals.