The virus infection rate among the slum dwellers in Dhaka is about six percent
The IEDCR-icddr,b survey
- 3,227 households surveyed
- 211 symptomatic individuals identified
- Additional samples collected from 720 households in 6 slums
- Among the Covid-19 cases with symptoms, 15 percent were hospitalised
Around 9 percent or 18 lakh out of more than 2 crore residents of Dhaka city are infected with the Covid-19, reveals a study.
The study conducted by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in collaboration with the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) also says that about 6 percent of slum dwellers in the city are also infected with the virus.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the country has 260,508 Covid-19 positive patients, more than 25 percent of whom are from Dhaka city alone although the number is much lower than the study has found.
The cross-sectional household survey was conducted in two city corporation areas in the city between April 18 and July 5, 2020, supported by the USAID and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
A total of 3,227 households were surveyed and 211 symptomatic individuals were identified, of whom 199 were tested with real-time RT-PCR.
A total of 435 asymptomatic individuals were selected from symptomatic households, of whom 201 were tested, and 827 asymptomatic individuals were selected from asymptomatic households, of whom 538 were tested.
An additional amount of samples was collected from six slums in Dhaka city (720 households).
Zahidul Hoque, director at the census wing of the Bureau of Statistics, said the total number of residents in Dhaka city are nearly two crore, which means that around 18 lakh of them are infected with the virus, according to the study.
Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and a former vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told The Business Standard, according to the study findings, more Covid-19 patients remain out of detection.
"Since the number of tests is low, the reported cases are low too. The study says slums have 6 percent Covid-19 patients, which means that Covid-19 is significantly prevalent among slum dwellers. But it remains unknown as these areas are out of the testing facility."
Among the Covid-19 cases (RT-PCR +ve) with symptoms, 93 percent had a fever, 36 percent had a cough, 17 percent had a sore throat and only five percent had shortness of breath on the day of testing.
Among the Covid-19 cases with symptoms, 15 percent were hospitalised. Only one death was reported among all Covid-19 cases with a one-month follow-up. The deceased individual was symptomatic and hospitalised.
Towfiqul Islam Khan, senior research fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue – a non-profit think tank, said there was no problem with the size of the samples in the IEDCR survey.
He placed more importance on the type than on the size of the samples.
Towfiqul said that ICDDR,B usually conducts world-class research and many rely on their work. "If the samples of their survey were statistically significant, nine percent of the people in the capital were infected with coronavirus on the day of the survey."
When contacted with ICDDR,B for comments about the findings, they recommended talking to the IEDCR.
Dr ASM Alamgir, principal scientific officer of the IEDCR, told The Business Standard that these are the primary findings of the study.
"Detailed results will be published next week. Then, we will get the actual picture."