People Health

COVID-19: Federal Health Ministry Agencies Release Findings of Household Seroprevalence Surveys

In a bid to estimate the COVID-19 infection and to provide a more detailed estimate of the extent of infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 in the country, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Nigeria Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) have released seroprevalence survey findings conducted between September and October of 2020 in Lagos, Enugu, Nasarawa and Gombe states.

The survey included the collection of blood samples and questionnaires from 10,000 individuals in the four states and testing of the samples for traces of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

The survey findings revealed the prevelance of the SARS-CoV-2 antibodies by 23% in Lagos and Enugu, 19% in Nasarawa and 9% in Gombe State which meant the infection rate was higher than the reported rate by the national surveillance system.

Furthermore, males had higher infection rates than females in all four states and people above and under the ages of 18-64 had a higher infection rate. These results proved similar with what had been reported by the NCDC based on national surveillance system.

The survey team noted that “SARS-CoV-2 emerged only one year ago and antibody response according to severity of infection and the duration of antibody persistence are not yet completely understood”.

The team believed that due to the high number of cases without symptoms and if individuals infected early in the outbreak no longer had sufficient antibodies for detection during the survey, the true seroprevalence of ever having infection may be underestimated in the survey.

The agencies advised that people should continue to adhere to the preventive procedures placed to curtail the spread of the virus as the survey exposed that significant amount of people were still prone to contact the virus.

The respective States Ministries of Health as well as the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) and other organisations were in support of the survey.

The NCDC and NIMR are expanding the survey to other states with the North-West and South- South zones their major concern.

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Festus Ezeifedi Chukwuemeka

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