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BACKGROUND: Seroprevalence studies are an alternative approach to estimating the extent of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the evolution of the pandemic in different geographical settings. We aimed to determine the SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence from March 2020 to March 2022 in a rural and urban setting in Kilifi County, Kenya. METHODS: We obtained representative random samples of stored serum from a pregnancy cohort study for the period March 2020 to March 2022 and tested for antibodies against the spike protein using a qualitative SARS-CoV-2 ELISA kit (Wantai, total antibodies). All positive samples were retested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid antibodies (Euroimmun, ELISA kits, NCP, qualitative, IgG) and anti-spike protein antibodies (Euroimmun, ELISA kits, QuantiVac; quantitative, IgG). RESULTS: A total of 2,495 (of 4,703 available) samples were tested. There was an overall trend of increasing seropositivity from a low of 0% [95% CI 0-0.06] in March 2020 to a high of 89.4% [95% CI 83.36-93.82] in Feb 2022. Of the Wantai test-positive samples, 59.7% [95% CI 57.06-62.34] tested positive by the Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 NCP test and 37.4% [95% CI 34.83-40.04] tested positive by the Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 QuantiVac test. No differences were observed between the urban and rural hospital but villages adjacent to the major highway traversing the study area had a higher seroprevalence. CONCLUSION: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence rose rapidly, with most of the population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 within 23 months of the first cases. The high cumulative seroprevalence suggests greater population exposure to SARS-CoV-2 than that reported from surveillance data.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Public Health

Publication Date





COVID-19, Kenya, SARS-CoV-2, antibodies, pregnancy, seroprevalence, Pregnancy, Humans, Female, Kenya, Pregnant Women, COVID-19, Cohort Studies, SARS-CoV-2, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Antibodies, Viral, Immunoglobulin G