ICMR study reveals doctors and medical practitioners working in hospitals are at high risk of getting infected with COVID-19

A Raju, HyderabadTuesday, June 2, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

In a health survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on doctors and related medical professionals serving the COVID-19 patients, it is revealed that the doctors and medical practitioners working in hospitals treating the patients suffering from coronavirus are at 33 per cent higher risk of getting contracted with the deadly virus than compared to the general population in India.

With more and more doctors and other medical staff working at hospitals treating coronavirus patients across India have been reportedly fallen ill with COVID-19 infection in the recent times, the ICMR study assumes significance. For instance in Telangana, very recently, 5 doctors including junior doctors serving at Gandhi Hospital (Designated COVID-19 Hospital) have taken ill and their diagnostic tests results have revealed that they have contracted with coronavirus. Earlier also, as many as 30 medical and security staff were reported to have contracted with coronavirus in Telangana.

Not just this, there are also instances wherein nurses, and other medical staff from various government and private hospitals have also been tested positive across various states in the country.

As part of the study, it is learnt that the ICMR had formulated and established laboratory surveillance for COVID-19. In this, an analysis of the surveillance data was done to describe the testing performance and descriptive epidemiology of corona cases by time, place and personnel done in ICMR identified laboratories in all the states that were assisted by the NIV Pune initially.

By April end, across India, there were more than 40,100 positive cases and for them to treat round 20,400 doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals who were symptomatic were involved on COVID-19 duties across various hospitals in various states in India. The ICMR authorities conducted tests on all the symptomatic healthcare staff and found that as many as 947 medical professionals serving the COVID-19 patients were tested positive. Also tests were conducted on 46,852 asymptomatic healthcare personals that were in contact with the confirmed cases without adequate protection and in this as many as 1,135 healthcare staff were found to be diagnosed positive.

Of the total over 40,100 COVID-19 counts, as on 30th of April, as many as 2,000 corona infected patients are from healthcare profession. This clearly tells that they contributed 5 per cent of total infected cases at that time.

At the same time as many as 30,000 healthcare workers were found to be infected in the world out of which 2,000 were from India. Even in Telangana as many as 30 healthcare workers including a few cases of police were also found to be positive when the State’s COVID count was just above over 1,000 positive cases.

“If we go by the ICMR findings, which was published recently, it is clear that the healthcare workers are more than 33 per cent vulnerable to corona virus infection compared to the general public in India,” says Kiran Madhala, head of the department anaesthesia, Government Medical College Nizamabad.