Background Seroprevalence studies have been carried out in many developed and developing countries to evaluate ongoing and past infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Data on this infection in marginalized populations in urban slums are limited, which may offer crucial information to update prevention and mitigation policies and strategies. We aimed to determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and factors associated with seropositivity in slum and non-slum communities in two large cities in Bangladesh. Methods A cross-sectional study was carried out among the target population in Dhaka and Chattogram cities between October 2020 and February 2021. Questionnaire-based data, anthropometric and blood pressure measurements and blood were obtained. SARS-CoV-2 serology was assessed by Roche Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoassay. Results Among the 3220 participants (2444 adults, ≥18 years; 776 children, 10–17 years), the overall weighted seroprevalence was 67.3% (95% confidence intervals (CI) = 65.2, 69.3) with 71.0% in slum (95% CI = 68.7, 72.2) and 62.2% in non-slum (95% CI = 58.5, 65.8). The weighted seroprevalence was 72.9% in Dhaka and 54.2% in Chattogram. Seroprevalence was positively associated with limited years of formal education (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.61; 95% CI = 1.43, 1.82), lower income (aOR = 1.23; 95% CI = 1.03, 1.46), overweight (aOR = 1.2835; 95% CI = 1.26, 1.97), diabetes (aOR = 1.67; 95% CI = 1.21, 2.32) and heart disease (aOR = 1.38; 95% CI = 1.03, 1.86). Contrarily, negative associations were found between seropositivity and regular wearing of masks and washing hands, and prior BCG vaccination. About 63% of the population had asymptomatic infection; only 33% slum and 49% non-slum population showed symptomatic infection. Conclusion The estimated seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 was more prominent in impoverished informal settlements than in the adjacent middle-income non-slum areas. Additional factors associated with seropositivity included limited education, low income, overweight and pre-existing chronic conditions. Behavioral factors such as regular wearing of masks and washing hands were associated with lower probability of seropositivity.


Copyright: © 2022 Raqib et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

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Raqib, R., Sarker, P., Akhtar, E., Huda, T., Haq, M., Roy, A., Hosen, M., Haque, F., Chowdhury, M., Reidpath, D., Hoque, D., Islam, Z., Ahmed, S., Ahmed, T., Tofail, F. & Sarker, A. 2022, 'Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and associated factors among Bangladeshi slum and non-slum dwellers in pre-COVID-19 vaccination era: October 2020 to February 2021', PLoS ONE, 17(5), article no: e0268093. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0268093

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Last updated: 26 October 2023
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