Prevalence of RT-PCR-detected SARS-CoV-2 infection at schools: First results from the Austrian School-SARS-CoV-2 Study

There is much debate about the role of schools and children in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

In a consortium of four Austrian universities (Medical University of Innsbruck, Medical University of Graz, Medical Faculty of the JKU Linz, University of Vienna), we set out to reliably quantify the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infections at schools detected with reverse-transcription polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR). We conducted the Austrian School-SARS-CoV-2 Study, a nationwide prospective cohort study that involves almost 250 schools in Austria.

The first two rounds of assessments revealed a prevalence of screen-detected cases of:

  • 0.39% (95% confidence interval 0.28-0.55%) at the round 1 (29 September-22 October 2020) and
  • 1.42% (1.06-1.90%) at round 2 (10-16 November).

Notably, regional community incidence and social deprivation were associated with a higher probabilities of SARS-CoV-2 cases at schools.

This paper has been been published as a pre-print available at the following address:

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.05.20248952v1

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