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IEDCR survey: 9% of Dhaka could be Covid-19 positive

  • Published at 11:45 pm August 10th, 2020
Collecting samples for laboratory testing
Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

IEDCR survey suggests Dhaka has 1.6 million asymptotic Covid-19 cases

A recent survey by the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has showed that overall 9% of all individuals in Dhaka on the day of the survey visit were estimated to be Covid-19 positive.

With an estimated 20 million population in Dhaka, the survey predicts that the city now has around 1.8 million Covid-19 cases.

IEDCR also said 5% of the total households were symptomatic and 2% of the total population of the survey were symptomatic.  

The survey also noted that about 8% asymptomatic individuals from asymptomatic households tested positive for Covid-19.

The IEDCR conducted the cross-sectional household survey in both city corporations of the capital between April 18 and July 5. The survey was conducted in collaboration with icddr,b and with support from USAID and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The aim of the survey was to determine the transmission dynamics of Covid-19, and slum dwellers were taken into consideration.

The researchers categorized households with members that had one of four Covid-19 symptoms within the week preceding the survey as symptomatic, while households with members that had not shown symptoms for the previous week were considered asymptomatic.

According to the IEDCR’s preliminary findings, a total of 3,227 households were visited for the survey and 211 symptomatic individuals identified. Among the symptomatic individuals, 199 had their samples tested through RT-PCR.


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A total of 435 asymptomatic individuals were selected from symptomatic households, among whom 201 were tested. On the other hand, 827 asymptomatic individuals were selected from asymptomatic households, among whom 538 were tested.

All symptomatic households and approximately every tenth asymptomatic household were selected for laboratory testing.

According to the report, 30% of the symptomatic individuals and 14% of asymptomatic individuals from symptomatic households tested positive.

Unusually high prevalence in adolescents aged 15-19 

The survey found that the prevalence of Covid-19 positive cases was highest among people aged 40 years (over 13%). 

Adolescents aged 15-19 years old were found to have a 12% prevalence of Covid-19, which is unusually high compared to the global scenario.

Among children under the age of 10, the prevalence of Covid-19 was found to be 6%.

Among the symptomatic cases, 93% had fever, 36% had cough, 17% had sore throat and only 5% had shortness of breath on the day of testing. 


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The research found that among the newly tested who had symptoms, 15% were hospitalized. Only one death was reported among all Covid-19 cases with one month of follow-up. The deceased individual was symptomatic and hospitalized.

Slums have 6% prevalence of Covid-19

Experts and health authorities from the very beginning have said slums are in jeopardy from Covid-19, due to the state of their personal hygiene. The number of Covid-19 cases among slum dwellers is still unknown and difficult to determine.

Health experts on several occasions urged to conduct random tests to unearth the real situation in slums. 

The survey on Covid-19 includes slum dwellers in the city as an additional sample, collected from 6 slums in Dhaka city (720 households). 

IEDCR in their press release said the prevalence of Covid-19 among slum dwellers is 6%, which is lower than the prevalence among other residents of the city (9%). 

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