Prevalence and risk of Propagation of Covid-19 Infection among Prisoners in Niamey-Niger

Author(s): Adamou Lagare, Zaliha A. Lahama, Fatima Hassane, Wilfried hounkanrin, Hassane Yaye, Aida François, Fakany A. Aboutalib, Hadiza Ousmane, Garba I. Oumarou, Santou Mamadou, Ramatoulaye H. Lazoumar, Ronan Jambou

Background: Covid-19 pandemic is still a major global public health concern. The World Health Organization recommends several measures for the disease prevention particularly in disfavored settings like prisons. However, these measures are difficult to implement due to overcrowding, low education level, and poor medical conditions of prisons. We aim to determine the prevalence and the risk of propagation of Covid-19 among prisoners at the prison civile of Niamey, Niger.

Methods: A standardized questionnaire was used to collect detainee’s epidemiological and clinical characteristics. Nasopharyngeal swabs and blood samples were collected for respectively the molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 by qRT-PCR and determining the seroprevalence using WANTAI SARS-CoV-2 Ab ELISA kit. Importantly, the ELISA kit was used as reference test to assess the diagnostic performance of the Panbio™ COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Device.

Results: A total of 301 inmates were enrolled of which 273 (90.70%) were male and median age of 30.49 years. qRT-PCR confirmed cases accounted for 32 (10.63%) while 253 (84.10%) were positive for total antibodies using ELISA test. The sensibility and specificity of the rapid test compared to the reference test were respectively 63% [IC95% (+/- 5.37)] and 90% [IC95% (+/- 3.05)]. The assessment of detainee’s compliance to Covid-19 prevention measures showed that hand washing was the most used practice.

Conclusions: Our findings highlighted the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 virus in carceral institution in Niger. More data needs to be gathered in order to fully estimate the sanitary impact of this threat. Therefore, this vulnerable group should be considered in the prevention strategy including vaccination.

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