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Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Stable in Iceland

Lower incidence of positive results seen among children younger than 10 and among women

coronavirus 2019

FRIDAY, April 17, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- In Iceland, the incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection was stable through 20 days of screening, according to a study published online April 14 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Daniel F. Gudbjartsson, Ph.D., from deCODE Genetics-Amgen in Reykjavik, Iceland, and colleagues examined how SARS-CoV-2 spread in Iceland. Testing was targeted to persons who were at high risk for infection. In addition, population screening was conducted by issuing an open invitation and sending random invitations.

The researchers found that 13.3 percent of 9,199 persons who were recruited for targeted testing had positive results for SARS-CoV-2 infection as of April 4; 0.8 and 0.6 percent in the open-invitation screening and random-population screening, respectively, tested positive. Of those in the targeted-testing group who received positive tests early in the study, most had recently traveled internationally. For targeted testing, a positive result occurred in 6.7 and 13.7 percent of children younger than 10 years and those aged ≥10 years, respectively; in the population screening, the corresponding results were 0 and 0.8 percent. Positive results were received by fewer women than men (11.0 versus 16.7 percent in targeted screening; 0.6 versus 0.9 percent in population screening). For the 20-day duration of screening, the percentage of infected participants identified through population screening remained stable.

"The frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 infection in the overall Icelandic population was stable from March 13 to April 1, a finding that appears to indicate that the containment measures had been working," the authors write. "However, the virus has spread to the extent that unless we continue to test and isolate, track contacts, and quarantine, we are likely to fail in our efforts to contain the virus."

The study was funded by DeCODE Genetics-Amgen.

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