Report: 20% of Lagos, Enugu, Nasarawa Residents Infected with COVID-19

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo

Findings of COVID-19 Household Seroprevalence Surveys in three states of Lagos, Enugu and Nasarawa by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) and their partners showed that one in every five individuals or 20 per cent of the population of those states may likely be carriers of COVID-19.

However, in Gombe State, the proportion is about one in every 10 persons or 10 per cent of the residents.

The survey findings indicated that more male were infected by COVID-19 than female in the affected states.

In a statement issued yesterday conveying the results of the survey, NCDC said there is the likelihood of a higher disease burden facing these states more than was being reported through the national surveillance system.

It also revealed that the spread of infection in the states surveyed is wider than is obvious from surveillance activities.

“NCDC and NIMR today released findings of household seroprevalence surveys conducted in Lagos, Enugu, Nasarawa and Gombe states. Conducted between September and October 2020, survey findings released today revealed that the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 23 per cent in Lagos and Enugu states, 19 per cent in Nasarawa State, and nine per cent in Gombe State. This means that as many as one in five individuals in Lagos, Enugu and Nasarawa states would have ever been infected with SARS-CoV-2.

“These rates of infection are higher than those reported through the national surveillance system and reveal that the spread of infection in the states surveyed is wider than is obvious from surveillance activities. This is not surprising for COVID-19, given that a majority of those infected do not have any symptoms,”.

NCDC said that the results of the survey further showed higher rates of infection among males than females.

According to the report, the infection rate is 10 per cent for males and seven per cent for females in Gombe and 21 per cent and 17 per cent in Nasarawa; 28 per cent and 18 per cent in Enugu and 23 per cent and 19 per cent in Lagos.

It explained that the surveys were designed to improve the estimate of the burden of COVID-19 infection in the country and to provide a more detailed estimate of the extent of infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus – the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The results from the survey also showed that a significant proportion of people in Nigeria are still at risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and therefore, COVID-19. It is very important that Nigerians continue to adhere to public health and social measures including regular handwashing, proper use of face masks and physical distancing,” NCDC said.