Four districts and one BBMP zone in Karnataka are yet to witness a surge in COVID-19 infection, according to the findings of the first round of seroprevalence survey conducted by the State government in association with various stakeholders.
The four districts - Dharwad, Gadag, Chickballapur, Bagalkot and BBMP’s Mahadevapura zone - have been found to have the lowest estimated prevalence and hence the surge is yet to occur there, according to the survey findings.
Karnataka is passing through different stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in different districts. While Vijayapura has the highest percentage of population (23.9%) that has developed Immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, Ballari has the highest percentage (34.5%) of the population with active infections.
The percentage of the population that has developed antibodies in Ballari is 22.1%. The overall prevalence is also the highest in Ballari with 43.1% while it is the lowest in Dharwad with 8.7%. With a mere 4.1% of the surveyed population in Bagalkot having developed antibodies, this district has the lowest immune response.
Vijayapura is followed by Belagavi where 23.7% of the surveyed population has developed antibodies. With 6.4% active infections here, the overall prevalence in this district is 30.1%. While Davangere has the second highest overall prevalence with 40.6%, Udupi follows with 36.4%.
Giridhar R Babu, member, State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) said the study recommends establishing district-level facility-based sentinel sero-surveillance to monitor the trend of infection in the long term systematically. “This can inform local decision-making at the district level to mount the necessary public health response towards the COVID-19 epidemic in the State.
Infection Fatality Rate
Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said an analysis based on the survey showed that the Infection Fatality Rate (IFR) due to COVID-19 in the State is 0.05%. “The districts with a high infection fatality rate suggest that clinical care needs to be improved in these places. The present IFR is likely an underestimate. The overall IFR based on the first round of sentinel sero-survey findings is 0.07%. The IFR reported across other cities are Mumbai (0.05-0.10%), Pune at 0.08%, Delhi is at 0.09, and Chennai is at 0.13%,” the Minister said.
He said the State will take up two more follow-up surveys in December and March to measure the extent and speed of transmission and evaluate the impact of containment strategies over time in the State.