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Pritsch, Michael; Radon, Katja ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5271-3972; Bakuli, Abhishek; Le Gleut, Ronan; Olbrich, Laura; Guggenbuehl Noller, Jessica Michelle; Saathoff, Elmar; Castelletti, Noemi; Gari, Merce; Puetz, Peter; Schaelte, Yannik; Frahnow, Turid; Woelfel, Roman; Rothe, Camilla; Pletschette, Michel; Metaxa, Dafni; Forster, Felix; Thiel, Verena; Riess, Friedrich; Diefenbach, Maximilian Nikolaus; Fröschl, Günter ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2743-7555; Bruger, Jan; Winter, Simon; Frese, Jonathan; Puchinger, Kerstin; Brand, Isabel; Kroidl, Inge; Hasenauer, Jan; Fuchs, Christiane; Wieser, Andreas and Hoelscher, Michael (2021): Prevalence and Risk Factors of Infection in the Representative COVID-19 Cohort Munich. In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 18, No. 7, 3572 [PDF, 6MB]


Given the large number of mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 cases, only population-based studies can provide reliable estimates of the magnitude of the pandemic. We therefore aimed to assess the sero-prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the Munich general population after the first wave of the pandemic. For this purpose, we drew a representative sample of 2994 private households and invited household members 14 years and older to complete questionnaires and to provide blood samples. SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity was defined as Roche N pan-Ig >= 0.4218. We adjusted the prevalence for the sampling design, sensitivity, and specificity. We investigated risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity and geospatial transmission patterns by generalized linear mixed models and permutation tests. Seropositivity for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies was 1.82% (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.28-2.37%) as compared to 0.46% PCR-positive cases officially registered in Munich. Loss of the sense of smell or taste was associated with seropositivity (odds ratio (OR) 47.4;95% CI 7.2-307.0) and infections clustered within households. By this first population-based study on SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in a large German municipality not affected by a superspreading event, we could show that at least one in four cases in private households was reported and known to the health authorities. These results will help authorities to estimate the true burden of disease in the population and to take evidence-based decisions on public health measures.

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