Seroprevalence of Anti-SARS-Cov-2 Antibodies among Patients Visiting Hospital-Based Sentinel Sites in the Rift Valley Region, Kenya

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Background: Accurate estimation of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is crucial for guiding public health strategies. Underreporting from PCR-based testing, especially in low- and middle-income countries, often obscures the true extent of exposure and immunity to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This study aimed to determine the seroprevalence and antibody levels against SARS-CoV-2 among patients visiting hospital-based sentinel sites in Kenya's Rift Valley region following the Omicron wave. Method: We conducted a cross-sectional study in four hospital-based sentinel sites among patients with acute respiratory infection symptoms. Patients aged six months or older visiting the sites between January 2022 and December 2022, presenting with symptoms of acute respiratory infection, were enrolled. Clinical and sociodemographic data were collected using a structured questionnaire. We used a quantitative ELISA kit to detect IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 S protein in serum samples. Results: Among 557 individuals enrolled in the study, the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 97.8% (n=545). Vaccinated individuals demonstrated significantly higher odds of seropositivity compared to unvaccinated counterparts, with an odds ratio of 3.33 (95% CI: (0.4, 27.87)). While seropositivity remained consistent across age groups, older adults exhibited the highest odds. Site-specific differences in enrolment and vaccination rates highlight potential access-related disparities. Conclusion: Our findings indicate widespread prior exposure to SARS-CoV-2 within the study region, underscoring the significant impact of both natural infection and vaccination efforts in driving SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence within the Rift Valley region. Despite the underestimation of infections and disparities in vaccination access, this study demonstrates the effectiveness of vaccination for conferring SARS-CoV-2 immunity. Targeted interventions are crucial to address accessibility barriers and vaccine hesitancy, ensuring equitable vaccination coverage.

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