Preliminary Epidemiological Investigation of SARS-CoV-2 and Risk Factors Associated with Infection in Tarhouna, Libya

Author(s): Hanan M. Maetouq, Abdulsalam S. Mahmoud, Abdulati El Salem, Khaled A. Aisawi, Ashraf A Naass, Abdulaziz M. Alkeelani, Mahmud EL. Abushhewa

Background: During the last couple of years, the emerging and re-emerging viral diseases have been spilled over and were considered of great international concern, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Corona virus (MERS-CoV), Ebola virus disease and Severe Acute Respiratory distress Syndrome (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has spread rapidly around the world since emerging in Wuhan, China, in late 2019.

Objectives: The study was conducted to investigate the epidemiological situation of COVID-19 and risk factors associated with SRAS-CoV-2 infection in Tarhouna city.

Materials and Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted to investigate the epidemiological situation of COVID-19 and study the risk factors (age, gender, history of contact and comorbidity condition) associated with infection in the city of Tarhouna from December 2020 to Jan 2021. All data were entered into the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and coded for analysis. Influence of variables like age, gender, comorbidity and history of contact on infection was calculated. A descriptive statistical analysis was performed to analyze the epidemiological characteristics of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 using SPSS version 22. For each proportion the percent and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated. Chi square test was used to investigate the level of association among variables at the significance level of p<0.05.

Results: The present study reported 540 confirmed cases of COVID-19 screened by RT.PCR. The result showed the statistical significant (.001) at p < 0.05 among four age categories (≤19 year 5.50%, 20-39 year 42.41%, 40-59 year 48.30% and ≥60 year 4.62%). Significantly (P=.04), the gender influence on infection rate of SARS-CoV-2 amongst target population. The infection rate was estimated to be 70.74% (95% CI: 66.90%-4.58%) and 29.50% (95% CI: 25.42%-33.10%) in male and female respectively. Our results reported no statistical difference (P=.09) among comorbidity and non-comorbidity cases. It well known that the comorbidities patients are considered most risk group. Comparatively, the infection was found to be higher in history contact 92.7% (95% CI: 90.59%-94.96%) than non-contact 7.2% (95% CI: 5.04%-9.41%). unexpectedly, the infection was estimated to be 72.59% (95% CI: 68.83%-76.35%) and 27.27% (95% CI: 23.65%-31.17%) among asymptomatic and symptomatic patients respectively.

Conclusion: This study is the first in the city of Tarhuona to provide information on epidemiological characterization of COVID pandemic in this city. The study emphasizes the significant effects of older age, male gender and underling diseases on the risk of mortality among COVID-19 patients. In spite, we excluded risk factors that constituted laboratory findings, vital signs or symptoms and silent cases of COVID-19, clearly that, asymptomatic cases could be underestimated. Therefore, it is recommended to take preventative measures more seriously in the elderly patients, and asymptomatic cases that play a potential silent role in COVID-19 epidemiology, and larger scale studies are highly recommended to investigate deeply the epidemiology of this virus among Libyan population.

© 2016-2022, Copyrights Fortune Journals. All Rights Reserved