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PLoS One ; 18(5): e0278251, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2325375


A community-based coronavirus disease (COVID-19) active case-finding strategy using an antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test (Ag-RDT) was implemented in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to enhance COVID-19 case detection. With this pilot community-based active case finding and response program that was designed as a clinical, prospective testing performance, and implementation study, we aimed to identify insights to improve community diagnosis and rapid response to COVID-19. This pilot study was modeled on the DRC's National COVID-19 Response Plan and the COVID-19 Ag-RDT screening algorithm defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), with case findings implemented in 259 health areas, 39 health zones, and 9 provinces. In each health area, a 7-member interdisciplinary field team tested the close contacts (ring strategy) and applied preventive and control measures to each confirmed case. The COVID-19 testing capacity increased from 0.3 tests per 10,000 inhabitants per week in the first wave to 0.4, 1.6, and 2.2 in the second, third, and fourth waves, respectively. From January to November 2021, this capacity increase contributed to an average of 10.5% of COVID-19 tests in the DRC, with 7,110 positive Ag-RDT results for 40,226 suspected cases and close contacts who were tested (53.6% female, median age: 37 years [interquartile range: 26.0-50.0)]. Overall, 79.7% (n = 32,071) of the participants were symptomatic and 7.6% (n = 3,073) had comorbidities. The Ag-RDT sensitivity and specificity were 55.5% and 99.0%, respectively, based on reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis, and there was substantial agreement between the tests (k = 0.63). Despite its limited sensitivity, the Ag-RDT has improved COVID-19 testing capacity, enabling earlier detection, isolation, and treatment of COVID-19 cases. Our findings support the community testing of suspected cases and asymptomatic close contacts of confirmed cases to reduce disease spread and virus transmission.

COVID-19 , Humans , Female , Adult , Male , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Prospective Studies , Pilot Projects , Sensitivity and Specificity
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 10(1): ofad023, 2023 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2222686


Background: By the end of the third wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic (May-October 2021), only 3130 of the 57 268 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) were reported in Kongo Central. This province, and especially its capital city, Matadi, has essential trade and exchanges with Kinshasa, the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in DRC. Kinshasa accounted for 60.0% of all cases during the same period. The true burden of COVID-19 in Matadi is likely underestimated. In this study, we aimed to determine the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seroprevalence and associated risk factors after the third wave in Matadi. Methods: We conducted a population-based cross-sectional study in October 2021. Consenting participants were interviewed and tested using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay commercial kit. We applied univariable and multivariable analysis to evaluate factors associated with seropositivity and adjusted the seroprevalence for the test kit performance. Results: We included 2210 participants from 489 households. Female participants represented 59.1%. The median age was 27 years (interquartile range, 16-45 years). The crude SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 82.3%. Age was identified as the main risk factor as younger age decreased the seropositivity odds. Accounting for clustering at the household level increased the seroprevalence to 83.2%. The seroprevalence increased further to 88.1% (95% confidence interval, 86.2%-90.1%) after correcting for the laboratory test kit performance. Conclusions: The SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was very high, contrasting with reported cases. Evidence generated from this population-based survey remains relevant in guiding the local COVID-19 response, especially vaccination strategies.

Emerg Infect Dis ; 29(1): 89-97, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2198453


Serologic surveys are important tools for estimating the true burden of COVID-19 in a given population. After the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections, a household-based survey conducted in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, estimated >292 infections going undiagnosed for every laboratory-confirmed case. To ascertain the cumulative population exposure in Kinshasa after the second wave of COVID-19, we conducted a prospective population-based cross-sectional study using a highly sensitive and specific ELISA kit. The survey included 2,560 consenting persons from 585 households; 55% were female and 45% male. The overall population-weighted, test kit-adjusted SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 76.5% (95% CI 74.5%-78.5%). The seroprevalence was 4-fold higher than during the first wave, and positivity was associated with age, household average monthly income, and level of education. Evidence generated from this population-based survey can inform COVID-19 response, especially vaccination campaign strategies in the context of vaccine shortages and hesitancy.

COVID-19 , Male , Female , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Cross-Sectional Studies , Democratic Republic of the Congo/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , Antibodies, Viral