Night-shift work is associated with increased susceptibility to COVID-19 infection

Night-shift workers experience disturbances of their circadian rhythm and sleep, which may make them more susceptible to infectious diseases. Therefore, we studied whether night-shift workers are at higher risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 infection than day workers. In this prospective study, data were used from 20 questionnaire rounds of the Dutch Lifelines COVID-19 cohort that was initiated in March 2020. In the different questionnaire rounds, 2285 night-shift workers and 23,766 day workers reported whether they had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for demographic, work, and health covariates were used to compare SARS-CoV-2 incidence between night-shift and day workers. From March 2020-January 2021, 3.4% of night-shift workers and 2.2% of day workers reported to have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (p < .001). After adjustment for covariates, night-shift workers had a 37% higher risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (hazard ratio: 1.37, 95% confidence interval: 1.05-1.77). In this study, we show that night-shift workers were more likely to test positive for SARS-CoV-2 than day workers, which adds to the growing evidence that night-shift work may influence the complex processes involved in infection susceptibility. Further mechanistic insight is needed to understand the relation between night-shift work and (SARS-CoV-2) infection susceptibility.

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  • Chronobiology International


  • Loef, B.
  • DollĂ©, M.E.T.
  • Proper, K.I.
  • van Baarle, D.
  • Lifelines Corona Research Initiative
  • van Kerkhof, L.W.

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