High anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among unvaccinated mother-child pairs from a rural setting of north-eastern Tanzania during the second wave of COVID-19

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BACKGROUND: The reported infection rates, and the burden of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in low- and middle-income countries, including sub-Saharan Africa, are relatively low compared to Europe and America, partly due to limited testing capabilities. Unlike many countries, in Tanzania, neither mass screening nor restrictive measures such as lockdowns have been implemented to date. The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in rural mainland Tanzania is largely unknown.

METHODS: Between April and October 2021, we conducted a cross-sectional study to assess anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among mother-child pairs ( n=634 children, n=518 mothers) in a rural setting of north-eastern Tanzania.

FINDINGS: We found a very high prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titres with seroprevalence rates ranging from 29% among mothers and 40% among children, with a dynamic peak in seropositivity incidence at the end of July/early in August being revealed. Significant differences in age, socioeconomic status and body composition were associated with seropositivity in mothers and children. No significant associations were observed between seropositivity and comorbidities, including anaemia, diabetes, malaria, and HIV.

INTERPRETATIONS: The SARS-CoV-2 transmission in a rural region of Tanzania during 2021 was high, indicating a much higher infection rate in rural Tanzania compared to that reported in the UK and USA during the same period. Ongoing immune surveillance may be vital to monitoring the burden of viral infection in rural settings without access to molecular genotyping where a load of communicable diseases may mask COVID-19. Surveillance could be implemented in tandem with the intensification of vaccination strategies.

TidsskriftIJID Regions (Online)
Sider (fra-til)48-57
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2023

Bibliografisk note

© 2022 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases.

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