COVID-19 seroprevalence rate among children: Kasaragod tops, Wayanad down

A higher power magnification image shows the structure and density of SARS-CoV-2 virions (red) produced by human airway epithelia. (Photo: Ehre Lab, UNC School of Medicine)
After infection from SARS-CoV-2 the antibody levels remain high for nine months. Image courtesy: IANS

Thiruvananthapuram: Children in some districts of Kerala have more COVID-19 antibodies than the national average, a seroprevalence survey conducted by the State Health Department has found

Since those aged below 18 have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, the presence of antibodies indicated that they had contracted SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-causing virus, at some point of time.

The study found the highest seropositivity rate in Kasaragod district, where 63.3% of children surveyed had the antibodies, followed by Alappuzha (55%) and Malappuram (50.9%).

The average seroprevalence rate among Kerala children is 40.2%, while the national average is 55%. However, the seropositivity rate in Wayanad (7.9%), Idukki (21.4%) and Pathanamthitta (25.5%) were below the State average.

The health department, however, has been baffled by the vast difference in the seropositivity rate in adults and children. In Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram, two districts which reported high number of COVID-19 cases, antibodies were found in 33.6% and 42.3% of children, respectively.

The low seroprevalence rate in Wayanad has been attributed to the lesser number of samples tested.

The survey tested 2,967 samples collected from children aged five to 17 in the State. The findings would be critical in drawing prevention strategies before the schools reopen on November 1.

Seroprevalence refers to the frequency of individuals with antibody to a particular virus in a population as found during a survey. In other words it is the percentage of individuals in a population who have developed antibodies to an infectious agent.

Other major findings

• Antibodies in 47.9% of children aged 7.

• Children in 5-8 and 12-14 category ahead in seroprevalence (Both 42.1%).

• Girls (43.5%) outnumber boys (36.6%).

• Antibodies in more children from economically backward families (43.4%) than others (36.6%).

• More children in urban areas (46%) have antibodies than their rural counterparts (36.7%).

• Antibodies found 94.1% of children who had been infected by the disease.

• Antibodies in 64.5% of children who had been in contact with COVID-19 patients.

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