CDC is learning more about how people in special populations like healthcare workers and first responders have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This information is being collected through seroprevalence surveys, which use serological (blood) tests to find out if people in a population or community have antibodies to infections, in this case SARS-CoV-2.
Antibodies are proteins that can fight off infections. If antibodies are found, that means there has been a previous infection. Antibody test results are especially important for detecting previous infections in people who had few or no symptoms and might not have been tested while they were infected.
The main purpose of these surveys is to better understand the risk of infection and develop guidance to prevent future exposures for special populations.
Descriptions of the surveys are provided below.
Since May 18, 2020, CDC has been conducting seroprevalence surveys of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among healthcare workers, first responders and public safety personnel in New York City, the Detroit metropolitan area and Rhode Island in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These surveys are designed to assess the presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among healthcare workers, first responders, and public safety personnel to gain a better understanding of their risk for infection with future exposures while continuing to participate in the COVID-19 pandemic response. The assessment will also determine factors that increase the risk of getting SARS-CoV-2 infection among these target populations. Knowing this information may inform recommendations for staff protection during future COVID-19 response activities.