People above 70 years, women most affected by COVID-19 in J&K: study

Virus-induced antibodies prevalent among two out of five persons in 10 districts, it says

The population above 70 years and women are the most affected by theCOVID-19 pandemic as Kashmir has shown prevalence of the virus-induced antibodies among two out of five persons in its 10 districts at 38.8%, according to a study released on Wednesday.

“The study indicates that there has been a widespread transmission of COVID-19 infection in the general population. There are apprehensions that the majority of the unaffected population may also contract the infection if standard operating procedures are not followed,” Dr. Salim Khan, head of the department, Community Medicine, Government Medical College, Srinagar, said.

According to the sero-prevalence study, COVID-19 specific antibodies were found prevalent among 38.8% samples in the population selected from l0 districts of the Kashmir Valley.

Central Kashmir’s Budgam and south Kashmir’s Pulwama have the highest antibody prevalence among the population at 43% and 43.1%. It showed that urban population had contracted the viruses more than their counterparts living in the rural pockets in Kashmir.

“Kupwara has recorded prevalence of 42.3%, Srinagar 40.7%, Bandipora 39.8%, Ganderbal 39%, Anantnag 35.2% and Baramullah 34.6%. The far off districts of Shopian showed 31.9% and Kulgam 28.5% prevalence of antibodies,” the study said.

The study also underlined that the population above 70 years showed the highest 44.2% prevalence of antibodies. “Compared to 38.8% prevalence among the male population, the female population showed prevalence of 40.2%,” the report said.

The study was organised by the Government Medical College, Srinagar, and the J&K National Health Mission in collaboration with five local medical colleges and the Directorate of Health Services, Kashmir.

“Over half of the sampled population (52.1%) who had influenza-like illness showed the antibodies and surprisingly among those who didn’t show any symptoms, 37.9% showed antibodies,” Dr. Khan said.

A total of 6,230 blood samples, comprising a population sample of 400 persons across 10 clusters in each of nine districts, and 2,418 samples in Srinagar district were tested for the presence of antibodies.


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