Background: It has become clear that healthcare workers are at high risk, and otolaryngology has been theorized to be among the highest risk specialties for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The purpose of this study was to detail the international impact of COVID-19 among otolaryngologists, and to identify instructional cases. Methods: Country representatives of the Young Otolaryngologists–International Federation of Otolaryngologic Societies (YO-IFOS) surveyed otolaryngologists through various channels. Nationwide surveys were distributed in 19 countries. The gray literature and social media channels were searched to identify reported deaths of otolaryngologists from COVID-19. Results: A total of 361 otolaryngologists were identified to have had COVID-19, and data for 325 surgeons was available for analysis. The age range was 25 to 84 years, with one-half under the age of 44 years. There were 24 deaths in the study period, with 83% over age 55 years. Source of infection was likely clinical activity in 175 (54%) cases. Prolonged exposure to a colleague was the source for 37 (11%) surgeons. Six instructional cases were identified where infections occurred during the performance of aerosol-generating operations (tracheostomy, mastoidectomy, epistaxis control, dacryocystorhinostomy, and translabyrinthine resection). In 3 of these cases, multiple operating room attendees were infected, and in 2, the surgeon succumbed to complications of COVID-19. Conclusion: The etiology of reported cases within the otolaryngology community appear to stem equally from clinical activity and community spread. Multiple procedures performed by otolaryngologists are aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) and great care should be taken to protect the surgical team before, during, and after these operations.
- aerosol generating procedures (AGPs)
- personal protective equipment (PPE)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy