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Jayeun Kim 1 Article
Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies during the third wave of COVID-19 in the Seoul metropolitan area of Korea
Kyuhyun Yoon, Jayeun Kim, Kyong Ran Peck, Hyun Soo Kim, Hyukmin Lee, Yoo-Sung Hwang, Soon Young Lee, Sung-il Cho, Hun Jae Lee, Yeong-gyeong Kim, Byoungguk Kim, June-Woo Lee, Ah-Ra Kim, Hyeon Nam Do, Dong-Hyun Kim
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022085.   Published online September 30, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022085
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Abstract
OBJECTIVES
After the third wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), by mid-February 2021, approximately 0.16% of the Korean population was confirmed positive, which appeared to be among the lowest rates worldwide at that time. However, asymptomatic transmission is challenging for COVID-19 surveillance. Therefore, a community-based serosurvey of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection was conducted to understand the effectiveness of Korea’s strong containment strategy.
METHODS
We collected 5,002 residual sera samples from January 30 to March 3, 2021, from 265 medical facilities in Seoul, 346 in Gyeonggi Province, and 57 in Incheon. Sixty samples from tertiary institutions were excluded. We defined the sub-regions according to the addresses of the medical facilities where the specimens were collected. Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 was used for screening, and positivity was confirmed using the SARS-CoV-2 sVNT Kit. Prevalence was estimated using sampling weights and the Wilson score interval for a binomial proportion with a 95% confidence interval.
RESULTS
Among the 4,942 specimens, 32 and 25 tested positive for COVID-19 in the screening and confirmatory tests, respectively. The overall crude prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 0.51%. The population-adjusted overall prevalence was 0.55% in women and 0.38% in men. The region-specific estimation was 0.67% and 0.30% in Gyeonggi Province and Seoul, respectively. No positive cases were detected in Incheon.
CONCLUSIONS
The proportion of undetected cases in Korea remained low as of early 2021. Therefore, an infection control strategy with exhaustive tracing and widespread pre-emptive testing appears to be effective in containing community spread of COVID-19.
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Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health