A three-phase population based sero-epidemiological study: Assessing the trend in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 during COVID-19 pandemic in Jordan

One Health. 2021 Jul 10;13:100292. doi: 10.1016/j.onehlt.2021.100292. eCollection 2021 Dec.

Abstract

The evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in Jordan during the first 10 months of the epidemic was peculiar and can be easily categorized in three different phases: a first period featuring a very low number of reported cases, a second period with exponential growth from August with up to 8000 cases on the 18th November 2020, and a third phase with steady and progressive decline of the epidemiological curve. With the aim of better determine the entity of the population exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the Jordan Ministry of Health with the support of the WHO launched three rounds of the nationwide sero-prevalence survey. Using population proportionate to size (PPS) methodology, around 5000 individuals were selected from all Jordan governorates. Blood samples were collected from all participants and ELISA assays for total IgM, IgG antibodies to COVID-19 were used for testing at the National Public Health Laboratory. Results revealed that seroprevalence dramatically increased over time, with only a tiny fraction of seropositive individuals in August (0.3%), to increase up to more than 20-fold in October (7.0%) and to reach one-third of the overall population exposed by the end of 2020 (34.2%). While non age-specific trends were detected in infection rates across different age categories, in all three rounds of the seroprevalence study two out of three positive participants did not report any sign and/or symptom compatible with COVID-19. The serial cross-sectional surveys experience in Jordan allowed to gain additional insights of the epidemic over time in combination with context-specific aspects like adherence to public health and social measures (PHSM). On the other hand, such findings would be helpful for planning of public health mitigation measures like vaccinations and tailored restriction policies.

Keywords: Covid-19; Jordan; Seroprevalence.