• GeroScience · Aug 2020

    Novel coronavirus epidemic in the Hungarian population, a cross-sectional nationwide survey to support the exit policy in Hungary.

    • Béla Merkely, Attila J Szabó, Annamária Kosztin, Ervin Berényi, Andor Sebestyén, Csaba Lengyel, Gergő Merkely, Júlia Karády, István Várkonyi, Csaba Papp, Attila Miseta, József Betlehem, Katalin Burián, Ildikó Csóka, Barna Vásárhelyi, Endre Ludwig, Gyula Prinz, János Sinkó, Balázs Hankó, Péter Varga, Gábor Áron Fülöp, Kornélia Mag, Zoltán Vokó, and HUNgarian COronaVirus-19 Epidemiological Research (H-UNCOVER) investigators.
    • Heart and Vascular Center, Semmelweis University, 68 Városmajor St, Budapest, 1122, Hungary. merkely.bela@kardio.sote.hu.
    • Geroscience. 2020 Aug 1; 42 (4): 1063-1074.

    AbstractAfter months of restrictive containment efforts to fight the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic, European countries are planning to reopen. To support the process, we conducted a cross-sectional survey among the Hungarian population to estimate the prevalence of infectious cases and prior SARS-CoV-2 exposure. A representative sample (n = 17,787) for the Hungarian population of 14 years or older living in private households (n = 8,283,810) was selected. The study was performed within 16 days after 50 days of restrictions, when the number of confirmed cases was stable low. Naso- and oropharyngeal smears and blood samples were collected for PCR and antibody testing. The testing was accompanied by a questionnaire about symptoms, comorbidities, and contacts. Design-based prevalence estimates were calculated. In total, 10,474 individuals (67.7% taken into account a sample frame error of 2315) of the selected sample participated in the survey. Of the tested individuals, 3 had positive PCR and 69 had positive serological test. Population estimate of the number of SARS-CoV-2 infection and seropositivity were 2421 and 56,439, respectively, thus active infection rate (2.9/10,000) and the prevalence of prior SARS-CoV-2 exposure (68/10,000) was low. Self-reported loss of smell or taste and body aches were significantly more frequent among those with SARS-CoV-2. In this representative, cross-sectional survey of the Hungarian population with a high participation rate, the overall active infection rate was low in sync with the prevalence of prior SARS-CoV-2 exposure. We demonstrated a potential success of containment efforts, supporting an exit strategy. NCT04370067, 30.04.2020.

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