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Due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, nosocomial transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is of great concern to clinicians of all specialties. Currently there are no published data available on the prevalence of the infection in ophthalmology patients presenting for intravitreal injection (IVI). The purpose of this retrospective study was to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV‑2 infection in patients presenting for IVI at our hospital.
Patients presenting for IVI in April 2020 at our hospital who had been screened for SARS-CoV‑2 infection using nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal specimen for real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis were included in a retrospective study. To assess the representativity of this sample for IVI patients, characteristics were compared with patients presenting for IVI during March–April 2019.
The study included 279 patients and 319 historic control patients. Of 277 valid test results, one SARS-CoV‑2 positive patient was found, resulting in a carrier rate of 0.36% with a 95% Clopper–Pearson confidence interval of 0.01–1.99%. No differences in sex (57.7% vs. 59.9% female, p = 0.650), age (77.63 ± 10.29 vs. 77.59 ± 10.94 years, p = 0.962), and region of residence were found between groups.
The study provides an estimate for the prevalence of SARS-CoV‑2 infection in asymptomatic patients presenting for IVI. While these data may be used as a baseline, further research is needed to assess the development of SARS-CoV‑2 prevalence in this patient group in order to support risk assessment and infection prevention strategies.