66% kids in Ludhiana district have developed antibodies to Covid, says survey

66% kids in Ludhiana district have developed antibodies to Covid, says survey

A student gives a sample for Covid test in Ludhiana. Inderjeet Verma

Nitin Jain

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 13

The first-ever survey exclusively conducted on younger population not yet eligible for Covid vaccination in the country has shown a high Covid sero-positivity rate among children between 6 and 17 years of age in Ludhiana district, the government has confirmed.

The final results of sentinel sero-surveillance survey, which concluded last week, revealed that an average of 66 per cent children in the 6-17 year age bracket in Ludhiana have been found with antibodies to the SARS-COV-2 virus.

In Punjab, the average sero-positivity among the younger population aged between 6 and 17 years was found to be 60 per cent. This was a bit lower than 67.2 per cent sero-prevalence shown among adults in the fourth serological survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical and Research (ICMR) in four districts of Punjab — Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, and Gurdaspur — last month.

The paediatric survey, which was conducted by the Health and Family Welfare Department, began in the last week of July and concluded in the first week of September.

The results of the state’s third sentinel sero-surveillance survey and the first in India so far to assess the prevalence of the virus infection among children, a copy of which is with The Tribune, showed that the highest of 63 per cent sero-positivity was found in the children between 14-17 years of age, followed by 60 per cent in 10-13 years, and lowest of 56 per cent among youngest lot aged between 6 and 9 years.

However, the gender and place of residence distribution suggested no difference with the same 60 per cent sero-prevalence shown among male-female and urban-rural children covered under the survey.

While the highest of 82 per cent sero-positivity among the young population aged 6 to 17 years was found in Moga district, Nawanshahr recorded the lowest rate of 46 per cent in the state.

Barnala stood second with 75 per cent sero-positivity, while Kapurthala ranked third in the state with 74 per cent antibodies against Covid virus among its children.

Each district and medical college was supposed to collect 92 samples each from rural and urban areas to conduct the survey, which was based on analysis of antibodies collected through blood samples.

While Amritsar and Faridkot collected 184 samples each, Ludhiana and Fazilka examined 93 samples each, whereas the other 10 districts tested 92 samples each.

Among other districts, Mohali finished fourth with 70 per cent sero-positivity, followed by Tarn Taran 67 per cent, Malerkotla 66 per cent, Hoshiarpur and Fazilka 64 per cent each, Fatehgarh Sahib 63 per cent, Patiala 61 per cent, Amritsar and Ferozepur 59 per cent each, Mansa 58, Pathankot 57, Sangrur 54, Ropar 53, Jalandhar 51, Bathinda 50, Gurdaspur and Faridkot 49 per cent each, Muktsar 47 and Nawanshahr 46 per cent.

As many as 10 per cent of total infected persons in the first and second Covid waves in the state were under 18 years of age.

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