SARS-CoV-2 serosurvey among adults involved in healthcare and health research in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa

C. S. Benn*, A. Salinha, S. Mendes, C. Cabral, C. Martins, S. Nielsen, A. B. Fisker, F. Schaltz-Buchholzer, C. S. Jørgensen, P. Aaby


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Objectives: Many African countries have reported fewer COVID-19 cases than countries elsewhere. By the end of 2020, Guinea-Bissau, West Africa, had <2500 PCR-confirmed cases corresponding to 0.1% of the ∼1.8 million national population. We assessed the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in urban Guinea-Bissau to help guide the pandemic response in Guinea-Bissau. Study design: Cross-sectional assessment of SARS-CoV-2 antibody in a cohort of staff at the Bandim Health Project. Methods: We measured IgG antibodies using point-of-care rapid tests among 140 staff and associates at a biometric research field station in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau, during November 2020. Results: Of 140 participants, 25 (18%) were IgG-positive. Among IgG-positives, 12 (48%) reported an episode of illness since the onset of the pandemic. Twenty-five (18%) participants had been PCR-tested between May and September; 7 (28%) had been PCR-positive. Four of these seven tested IgG-negative in the present study. Five participants reported that somebody had died in their house, corresponding crudely to an annual death rate of 4.5/1000 people; no death was attributed to COVID-19. Outdoor workers had a lower prevalence of IgG-positivity. Conclusions: In spite of the low official number of COVID-19 cases, our serosurvey found a high prevalence of IgG-positivity. Most IgG-positives had not been ill. The official number of PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases has thus grossly underestimated the prevalence of COVID-19 during the pandemic. The observed overall mortality rate in households of Bandim Health Project employees was not higher than the official Guinean mortality rate of 9.6/1000 people.

TidsskriftPublic Health
Sider (fra-til)19-22
StatusUdgivet - feb. 2022

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
EDCTP funded a study of BCG vaccine to healthcare workers, including part of the staff involved in the present survey (RIA2020EF-3049). Statens Serum Institut, Denmark, donated the test kits used while other expenses were covered by in-kind funding. The funders had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)


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