Maharashtra Begins Fourth Sero-Survey To Gauge COVID-19 Infections Among Children

Maharashtra Begins Fourth Sero-Survey To Gauge COVID-19 Infections Among Children

The Maharashtra Health Department has officially begun its fourth serological survey covering six districts in order to gauge the prevalence of the coronavirus among its residents. Crucially, this serosurvey will also include children over the age of six, which is a first for the state.  

The serosurvey will be conducted in the districts of Beed, Parbhani, Nanded, Jalgaon, Ahmednagar, and Sangli. Officials said that 3,000 participants will be covered in this survey which includes 1,680 adults, 720 participants aged between the ages of 6 and 18, and 600 healthcare workers. 

State Surveillance Officer, Dr Pradeep Awate said, “We will take 400 samples from each district. Of this, 100 will be from HCWs and 120 samples will be from children between the age group of six and 18 years. The result is expected in a month.”

Awate added that samples of children will be gathered in two age groups comprising 6-9 years and 10-18 years respectively. Authorities will collect 40 samples from the 6-9 age group in each district and 80 samples from the 10-18 age group. 

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This round of the serosurvey will be managed by the Indian Council of Medical Research -National AIDS Research Institute (ICMR-NARI), Pune, while Dr Sampada Bangar and Dr Seema Sahay have been appointed as the nodal and co-nodal officers respectively. 

Maharashtra Health Services Director, Dr Archana Patil said, “Through the results of the sero survey, we would be able to understand the prevalence of the virus among the general population including children and HCWs. With the mutation of Sars-CoV-2, it is imperative to understand to what extent it has been transmitted among the crowd.”

“Also, such surveys show the seropositivity levels within a population which helps in predicting the pandemic’s future trends,” Dr Patil added. 

It’s worth mentioning that while children over the age of 10 have participated in the state’s serosurvey previously, this is the first time that children as young as six years old are also included given the increasing number of cases from this age group.  

Additionally, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will soon conduct another serosurvey among children between the ages of 0 and 18 years. Civic data shows that around 4,351 children between the ages of 0 and 9 tested positive for COVID-19 in April this year, leading to a sense of alarm among health authorities. 

“We have witnessed a huge rise in Covid-19 cases among children in the second wave. Though mortality rate has remained under control, we need to know the actual figure of transmission among children as many may have remained asymptomatic,” said Dr Ramesh Bharmal who is the Dean at BYL Nair Hospital.

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