JMIRx Med. 2023 Oct 17;4:e29587. doi: 10.2196/29587.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is causing ongoing human and socioeconomic losses.
OBJECTIVE: To know how far the virus has spread in Niger State, Nigeria, a pilot study was carried out to determine the SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence, patterns, dynamics, and risk factors in the state.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study design and clustered, stratified random sampling strategy were used to select 185 test participants across the state. SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM rapid test kits (colloidal gold immunochromatography lateral flow system) were used to determine the presence or absence of antibodies to the virus in the blood of sampled participants across Niger State from June 26 to 30, 2020. The test kits were validated using the blood samples of some of the Nigeria Center for Disease Control-confirmed positive and negative COVID-19 cases in the state. SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM test results were entered into the Epi Info questionnaire administered simultaneously with each test. Epi Info was then used to calculate the arithmetic mean and percentage, odds ratio, χ2 statistic, and regression at a 95% CI of the data generated.
RESULTS: The seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Niger State was found to be 25.4% (47/185) and 2.2% (4/185) for the positive IgG and IgM results, respectively. Seroprevalence among age groups, genders, and occupations varied widely. The COVID-19 asymptomatic rate in the state was found to be 46.8% (22/47). The risk analyses showed that the chances of infection are almost the same for both urban and rural dwellers in the state. However, health care workers, those who experienced flulike symptoms, and those who had contact with a person who traveled out of Nigeria in the last 6 months (February to June 2020) were at double the risk of being infected with the virus. More than half (101/185, 54.6%) of the participants in this study did not practice social distancing at any time since the pandemic started. Participants’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding COVID-19 are also discussed.
CONCLUSIONS: The observed Niger State SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence and infection patterns meansuggest that the virus has widely spread, far more SARS-CoV-2 infections have occurred than the reported cases, and there is a high asymptomatic COVID-19 rate across the state.