Second sero survey: Covid antibodies found in 14.8% population of Haryana

The second round of serological survey conducted by the health department in October has revealed that 14.8% of the population in Haryana has developed Covid-19 antibodies as opposed to 8% of the population in August.

The serological survey was conducted to determine the extent of coronavirus spread in the state and helps in measuring the proportion of population exposed to the infection including asymptomatic people.

State health minister Anil Vij on Monday said sero-positivity during the second round was 19.8% in urban areas and 11.4% in rural areas. It was 9.6% in urban and 6.9% rural areas during the first round of survey. Vij said rural areas of Faridabad and Jind districts were found to have the highest positivity rate of 25.5%. The urban areas of Faridabad, Yamunanagar and Panipat have the highest sero-positivity rates—40.2%, 37.1% and 36.3%, respectively.

The districts which had lower sero-positivity of less than 10% were Hisar (9.7%), Mahendergarh (8.6%),Charkhi Dadri (7.7%), Sirsa (7.5%), Palwal (5.5%) and Bhiwani (3.1%).

Additional chief secretary, health, Rajeev Arora, said these finding will guide the officials in planning and implementation of appropriate measures to contain the spread of virus. Arora said a sero-survey is about testing a group of individuals for presence of antibodies as it helps in understanding the number of people affected by the disease. The study helps in determining the burden of virus at the community-level and monitor the trends of transmission.

Arora said that it has been observed that urban population was more affected than people in rural areas. “Overall low prevalence findings can be attributed to the proactive measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of infection including prompt lockdown, testing strategies, containment and surveillance measures including contact tracing and tracking,” he said.

Director health services, IDSP, Dr Usha Gupta said 720 samples were collected from each of the 22 districts covering both urban and rural population. “A stratified multi-stage random sampling technique was used. We had selected 12 rural and four urban clusters randomly for taking samples. Blood samples were collected from selected individuals after taking written consent and then their sera were tested for immunoglobulin antibodies using ELISA test kit approved by Indian Council of Medical Research,’’ Dr Gupta said, adding that 16,512 samples were collected from the 22 districts.

Director general health services Dr SB Kamboj said though 14.8 % population has developed antibodies but still a significant proportion of the population is vulnerable. Therefore, the containment measures need to be continued with same rigor. Other non-pharmacological interventions such as physical distancing, use of face mask, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and avoidance of crowded places must be followed strictly, he said.

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