Kashmir’s first district-wise sero survey for Covid-19 has shown antibodies in about 39% of the population in the Valley.
Health officials said that the sero-prevalence study in Kashmir division for SARS COV-2 specific IgG antibodies was conducted across all the ten districts of Pulwama, Budgam, Kupwara, Srinagar, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Baramullah, Shopian and Kulgam. “The study shows IgG antibodies among 38.8% sampled population,” said Dr S Muhammad Salim Khan, head of the department, community medicine, Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar.
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The study was organised by Government Medical College Srinagar and JK National Health Mission in collaboration with SKIMS Medical College, Government Medical College Anantnag, Government Medical College Baramullah and Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir.
Blood samples were collected from a total of 6,230 persons of which 2,415 tested positive for the Covid antibodies. “From each district,400 samples were taken while earlier, we had taken 2,418 samples in Srinagar district which were tested for the presence of IgG antibodies specific to SARS COV-2 infection in Abbott Laboratories’ Architect analyser by Department of Biochemistry GMC Srinagar, “ Khan said.
The age-wise analysis shows more sero prevalence among the elderly population while gender-wise, it’s more among females (40.2%) than males (37.3%).
“Over half of the sampled population (52.1%) who had Influenza-like illness showed IgG antibodies and surprisingly, among those who didn’t show any symptoms, 37.9% showed IgG antibodies,” he said.
Half of the sampled population who had history of contact with a Covid-19 case showed IgG antibodies while among those who had no history of contact, 40% showed IgG antibodies.
Among those who had tested positive for Covid-19, only 79.5% showed antibodies. Even among 912 persons who tested negative, 345 (37.8%) had Covid-19 specific IgG antibodies.
“The study indicates that there has been widespread transmission of SARS CoV-2 infection in general population and there are apprehensions that the majority of unaffected population may also contract it if SOPs aren’t followed. There seems complacency among the general population and very few people are now using face masks. People are not adhering to social distancing norms even at gatherings in public places,” Khan said.
The study was funded by JK National Health Mission, the main collaborator of the study, and was approved by the Institutional ethical committee of GMC Srinagar.
The number of Covid-19 cases in J&K has reached 103,581 and the number of deaths at 1,604 till Tuesday evening. Of the casualties, 1,063 deaths were reported in Kashmir and 541 in Jammu.
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