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Emergency Medicine Journal COVID-19 monthly top five
    1. 1 Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham, UK
    2. 2 Emergency Department, University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust, Plymouth, UK
    3. 3 Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, University of Plymouth Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Plymouth, UK
    4. 4 Devon Air Ambulance Trust, Exeter, UK
    5. 5 Division of Cardiovascular Sciences, The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK
    6. 6 Emergency Department, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Manchester, UK
    1. Correspondence to Dr Laura Cottey, Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine, Royal Centre for Defence Medicine, Birmingham B15 2SQ, UK; laurajcottey{at}

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    Following from the successful ‘RCEM weekly top five’ series starting in April 2020, this is the fifth of a monthly format for Emergency Medicine Journal (EMJ) readers. We have undertaken a focused search of the PubMed literature using a standardised COVID-19 search string. Our search between 1 March and 31 March 2021 returned 2613 papers limited to human subjects and English language. We also searched high-impact journals for papers of interest.

    Our team have narrowed down the most interesting, relevant and important of the papers and provided a critical snapshot of five of those we felt most deserved EMJ reader attention. Importantly, we have highlighted not only the main findings from the papers but key limitations and considerations for emergency medicine (EM) clinicians when interpreting the work. In doing so, we have created an accessible window into pertinent research findings for our busy colleagues during this fast-paced and ever-changing COVID-19 landscape.

    The papers are ranked in one of three categories, allowing you to focus on the papers that are most vital to your practice:

    • Worth a peek—interesting, but not yet ready for prime time.

    • Head turner—new concepts.

    • Game changer—this paper could/should change practice.

    This month’s searches were undertaken by the team in Plymouth and the Academic Department of Military Emergency Medicine. Next month we cross to Cork, Ireland.

    Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in healthcare workers in a large teaching hospital in the North West of England: a period prevalence survey

    Topic: transmission

    Rating: head turner

    In this paper, Shorten et al present the results of a COVID-19 antibody screening programme and a COVID-19 symptom survey among staff in a large UK hospital.1

    Overall, 17.4% of staff were seropositive for COVID-19 and there were several statistically significant findings within this group. Older staff were less likely to be seropositive than younger staff, as were staff of white ethnicity compared with those of black or Asian ethnicity. Rates of seropositivity among staff increased as patients with COVID-19 spent …

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    • Twitter @lauracottey, @timecritical, @Rob209no, @DefProfEM, @Reynard_EM

    • Collaborators Collaborators RCEM COVID-19 CPD Team: Dr Anisa Jafar, Dr Daniel Darbyshire, Dr Govind Oliver, Dr Gabrielle Prager and Professor Simon Carley.

    • Contributors CR performed the literature search. LC assembled the team of authors. LC, FB, RHJ, BG, SW and FW screened titles in the provided literature search, long-listed articles and hand-searched selected journals. LC and JS reviewed the long-listed and selected articles for inclusion. All authors contributed to writing of articles for inclusion and editing. The final submission was edited by LC, CR and JS.

    • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

    • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.