Awareness of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Infection Among Adults With Recent COVID-19 Seropositivity

The study “Awareness of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant Infection Among Adults With Recent COVID-19 Seropositivity” conducted by Joung et al., published in JAMA Network Open in 2022, investigates the awareness of Omicron variant infection among adults during the Omicron surge in Los Angeles County, California.

Here’s a detailed summary:

Study Objective and Design: The study aimed to assess how many individuals were aware of their infectious status during the Omicron variant surge. It involved a cohort of adult employees and patients at an academic medical center who were part of a COVID-19 serological study. Participants had serial anti-nucleocapsid IgG (IgG-N) antibody measurements, and the study included those with evidence of new SARS-CoV-2 infection during the Omicron surge period, from December 2021 to May 2022.

Key Findings:

  • Out of 210 participants, 44% (92 individuals) were aware of their recent Omicron infection, while 56% (118 individuals) were unaware.
  • Among the unaware, 10% (12 out of 118) reported symptoms they attributed to a common cold or other non–SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • In multivariable analyses, healthcare employees were more likely than non-employees to be aware of their infection, and awareness was associated with being younger and male.


  • More than half of the adults with recent Omicron infection were unaware of their infectious status, potentially contributing to rapid community transmission.
  • The low overall awareness, even among healthcare employees, suggests the need for more effective strategies to identify and manage infections.


  • The study’s sample size may limit the ability to detect multiple factors associated with infection awareness.
  • The specific SARS-CoV-2 strain was not confirmed through sequencing, and some seroconversion events might not have been verified by PCR testing.
  • The study focused on infection awareness rather than symptom presence, and the results are based on a cohort from a single health system in Los Angeles County, potentially affecting generalizability.

Conclusion: This study reveals significant unawareness of Omicron variant infection among adults, highlighting the challenges in controlling its spread. The findings underscore the need for improved public health strategies to enhance infection awareness and reduce transmission.

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