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Seroprevalence of IgG antibodies to SARS-coronavirus in asymptomatic or subclinical population groups

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 July 2005

G. M. LEUNG
Affiliation:
Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China Takemi Program, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
W. W. LIM
Affiliation:
Government Virus Unit, Public Health Laboratory Centre, Shek Kip Mei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
L.-M. HO
Affiliation:
Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China
T.-H. LAM
Affiliation:
Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China
A. C. GHANI
Affiliation:
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, University of London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, UK
C. A. DONNELLY
Affiliation:
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, University of London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, UK
C. FRASER
Affiliation:
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, University of London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, UK
S. RILEY
Affiliation:
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, University of London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, UK
N. M. FERGUSON
Affiliation:
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, University of London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, UK
R. M. ANDERSON
Affiliation:
Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, University of London, St Mary's Campus, Norfolk Place, London, UK
A. J. HEDLEY
Affiliation:
Department of Community Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China
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Abstract

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We systematically reviewed the current understanding of human population immunity against SARS-CoV in different groups, settings and geography. Our meta-analysis, which included all identified studies except those on wild animal handlers, yielded an overall seroprevalence of 0·10% [95% confidence interval (CI) 0·02–0·18]. Health-care workers and others who had close contact with SARS patients had a slightly higher degree of seroconversion (0·23%, 95% CI 0·02–0·45) compared to healthy blood donors, others from the general community or non-SARS patients recruited from the health-care setting (0·16%, 95% CI 0–0·37). When analysed by the two broad classes of testing procedures, it is clear that serial confirmatory test protocols resulted in a much lower estimate (0·050%, 95% CI 0–0·15) than single test protocols (0·20%, 95% CI 0·06–0·34). Potential epidemiological and laboratory pitfalls are also discussed as they may give rise to false or inconsistent results in measuring the seroprevalence of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV.

Type
Systematic Review
Copyright
2005 Cambridge University Press
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