Community-level SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence Survey in urban slum dwellers of Buenos Aires City, Argentina: a participatory research.


Background By July 1st, the incidence rate of RT-qPCR SARS-CoV-2 infection was 5.9% in Barrio Padre Mugica, one of the largest slums in Buenos Aires City. This study aimed to establish the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 three months after the first case was reported. Methods Between June 10th and July 1st, a cross-sectional design was carried out on people over 14 years old, selected from a probabilistic sample of households. A finger prick sample was tested by ELISA to detect IgG-class antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Multilevel model was applied to understand sector, household and individual conditions associated with seroconvert. Results Prevalence based on IgG was 53.4% (95%IC 52.8% to 54.1%). Among the IgG positive cases, 15% reported having compatible symptoms at some point in the past two months. There is evidence of within-household clustering effect (rho=0.52; 95% IC 0.36-0.67); living with a PCR-confirmed case doubled the chance of being SARS-CoV2 IgG positive (OR 2.13; 95% IC 1.17-3.85). The highest risk of infection was found in one of the most deprived areas of the slum, the Bajo autopista sector. Discussion High seroprevalence is shown, for each symptomatic RT-qPCR-confirmed diagnosis, 9 people were IgG positive, indicating a high rate of undetected (probable asymptomatic) infections. Given that transmission among family members is a leading driver of the disease`s spread, it is unsurprising that crowded housing situations in slums are directly associated with higher risk of infection and consequently high seroprevalence levels. This study contributes to the understanding of population immunity against SARS-CoV2, its relation to living conditions and viral spread, for future decision making.