The team reports on it in the British Medical Journal.
The numbers in western countries are many times higher when measured against the size of the population. That is why the discussion arises again and again why Africa is largely spared. It won’t, as Gill and his team write.
Spur des Virus
The y used the polymerase chain reaction to detect the Sars-CoV-2 virus in 70 deaths. Thus around 20 percent of the deceased were infected with it. It was not possible to clarify for all of them the complaints they had suffered from. But those for whom information was available had almost all symptoms typical of Covid 19, such as cough, fever and shortness of breath. Only 6 of the 70 demonstrably infected had been tested for the pathogen before their death.
As already known from other countries, the proportion of deaths in which Sars-CoV-2 was involved was highest among those over 70 years of age. However, in absolute terms, most died in the under 60 age group. Unexpectedly, seven children were there, making up 10 percent of the deaths. A comparison with the official Zambian death register showed that the sample of those tested had a representative age structure.
The fact that among the deceased with proven Sars-CoV-2 infection there were a relatively large number of younger people can possibly be explained by their living environment. Most of them came from particularly poor and densely populated districts of Lusaka, where it is hardly possible to keep your distance and masks are rarely worn. Common comorbidities of these people were tuberculosis, high blood pressure, AIDS, alcoholism and diabetes. Some allegedly had malaria, but the disease is often diagnosed in Lusaka when patients have a fever of unknown origin, the researchers emphasize.
Why there are so few known Covid 19 cases in Africa has been discussed intensively. In part, it’s because the health systems there test much less than those in western countries. Researchers cite the lower average age in many African countries as another possible reason; young people are less likely to get seriously ill.
The lower proportion of overweight people could also play a role; Obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes all increase the risk of a critical course of Covid-19. Some immunologists also suspect that Africans could come into contact with other coronaviruses, malaria and other pathogens more often, which is why their immune system reacts more strongly to new pathogens.
The new study now suggests that many Covid deaths in Africa are not recognized as such.