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71% slum dwellers in Dhaka, 55% in Chattogram have coronavirus antibodies: icddr,b

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-06-22 18:29:20 BdST


A study has found at least 71 percent people living in Dhaka slums and 55 percent residents of slum areas of Chattogram to be carrying the coronavirus antibodies.

It means that these slum dwellers were infected, or at least exposed to the pathogen in the past, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh or icddr,b said in a webinar on Tuesday, citing a study of their own.

The overall adjusted seroprevalence -- the level of a pathogen in a population, as measured in blood serum -- among 3,220 participants was 68 percent with higher seropositivity of 71percent in Dhaka than 55 percent in Chattogram, icddr,b said.

The seropositivity was similar across adults and children, being 70 percent and 65.5 percent. The seroprevalence, however, was higher in females, at 70.6 percent, than in males, 66 percent. Among the 2,209 seropositive participants, only 35.5 percent were estimated to have some mild symptoms.

Higher seroprevalence was found in individuals with fewer years of education, diabetes, overweight, and hypertension, while seroprevalence was lower in individuals who frequently washed hands, did not put fingers on the face, nose, or have been vaccinated with BCG. Those who carry out moderate physical activities also showed lower seroprevalance.

icddr,b recently completed the study titled ‘Drivers of Covid 19 in Slums and Non-slum Areas of Dhaka and Chattogram’ from October last year to February 2021. It aimed to evaluate the extent of spread of coronavirus infection in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals residing in the slum and non-slum communities in Dhaka and Chattogram.

Dr Rubhana Raqib and Dr Abdur Razzaque led the study.

The main objective of the study was to ascertain the seroprevalence of COVID-19 among slum and non-slum dwellers and identify probable risk factors.

The risk factors which were examined included presence of other respiratory viruses, nutritional factors including Viatmin D, Zinc and Selenium, and immunological factors.

Household interviews, blood pressure and anthropometric measurements, and blood samples were collected.