The world is still in the grip of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic, with putative psychological consequences for healthcare workers (HCWs). Exploring the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the first SARS-CoV-1 epidemic in 2003 may inform us of the long-term effects of the actual pandemic, as well as putative influencing factors such as contact with the virus, time effects, or the importance of some sociodemographic data. This information may help us develop efficient preventive strategies. Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on the prevalence of PTSD in HCWs following the SARS-CoV-1 in 2003. PubMed, Embase, Google Scholar, Psychinfo, and Web of Science were searched until September 2022. Random-effects meta-analyses were stratified by the time of follow-up. We included 14 studies: 4842 HCWs (32.0 years old, 84% women). The overall prevalence of PTSD was 14% (95CI 10 to 17%). The prevalence of PTSD was 16% (8 to 24%) during the epidemic, 19% (16 to 22%) within 6 months after the epidemic, and 8% (4 to 13%) more than one year after the end of the epidemic. The longest follow-up was three years after the epidemic, with 10% of HCWs with PTSD. Nevertheless, the prevalence of PTSD was significantly lower more than one year after the end of the epidemic than the first six months after the epidemic (Coefficient −10.4, 95CI −17.6 to −3.2, p = 0.007). In conclusion, the prevalence of PTSD in HCWs was high during the first epidemic of SARS-CoV in 2003 and remained high in the long term. The lessons from the SARS-CoV-1 epidemic may help prevent a wave of PTSD following the latest COVID-19 pandemic.


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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Alberque, B., Laporte, C., Mondillon, L., Baker, J., Mermillod, M., Brousse, G., Ugbolue, U., Bagheri, R., Bouillon-Minois, J. & Dutheil, F. 2022, 'Prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in healthcare workers following the first SARS-CoV epidemic of 2003: a systematic review and meta-analysis', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 19(20), article no: 13069. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph192013069

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Last updated: 14 November 2022
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