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Kenyan truckers face high Covid risk

Image: Njiruh [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Seroprevalence higher among drivers than in the general population, study shows

Two-thirds of lorry-driving crews in Kenya sampled between January and April 2021 showed signs of prior infection of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a study has revealed.

The study, presented during an African public health conference on 13 December, tested more than 700 long-distance crews in Kenya’s Kilifi and Busia counties. It found a seroprevalence of 66.6 per cent.

Truck drivers were allowed to move around freely during Kenya’s Covid-19 lockdowns, given their role in distributing essential goods like food and medical equipment. As a result, the study suggests, they have been at higher risk of contracting Covid-19 than the general population.

Kenyan blood donors sampled between January and March 2021 recorded a seroprevalence rate of 48.5 per cent, Wangeci Kagucia from the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme told the conference.

The study illustrates the challenge to infection prevention in groups who are essential in moving goods around, the conference heard.