Maputo — An epidemiological survey undertaken in Maputo by the National Health Institute (INS) shows that 3.79 per cent of the capital's residents have antibodies to the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
Like the earlier surveys in the northern Mozambican cities of Nampula and Pemba, this survey used a simple blood test, which gives results after 10 or 15 minutes. The test does not show whether the person concerned currently has Covid-19 - but it does show the presence of antibodies to the virus, indicating that the person has been in contact with the disease in the recent past.
The survey took a random sample of 4,717 households from all neighbourhoods in the city. Every urban district showed exposure to the coronavirus, with the highest rates found in Nlamanculo (4.72 per cent), Kamabukwana (4.53 per cent) and Katembe (4.48 per cent).
Amongst age groups, the highest exposure to the coronavirus was found among those over 60 years old (4.48 per cent), followed by young adults, in the 15-34 age group (4.42 per cent), and children under the age of 15 (3.25 per cent).
The survey also looked at the exposure of key professional groups to the virus. As expected, the riskiest profession is that of market vendor - 5.22 per cent of the sample tested positive for the antibodies. For people working in formal shops, the figure was 4.54 per cent, and for members of the police force it was 3.94 per cent.
2.63 per cent of health workers were carrying the coronavirus antibodies and 3.31 per cent of the sample from the airport and the port workforce.
Markets are not all the same. The survey found great disparity - thus 9.52 per cent of the sellers tested at the Maputo fish market had been in contact with the virus, compared with 5.45 per cent in the Ximpeto whole sale market, and 1.96 per cent in the "Mercado do Povo" in the centre of the city.