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SARS-CoV-2 transmission among children and staff in daycare centres during a nationwide lockdown in France: a cross-sectional, multicentre, seroprevalence study

Abstract : Background The extent to which very young children contribute to the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is unclear. We aimed to estimate the seroprevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in daycare centres that remained open for key workers' children during a nationwide lockdown in France. Methods Children and staff who attended one of 22 daycare centres during a nationwide lockdown in France (between March 15 and May 9, 2020) were included in this cross-sectional, multicentre, seroprevalence study. Hospital staff not occupationally exposed to patients with COVID-19, or to children, were enrolled in a comparator group. The primary outcome was SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in children, daycare centre staff, and the comparator group. The presence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in capillary whole blood was measured with a rapid chromatographic immunoassay. We computed raw prevalence as the percentage of individuals with a positive IgG or IgM test, and used Bayesian smoothing to account for imperfect sensitivity and specificity of the assay. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04413968. Findings Between June 4 and July 3, 2020, we enrolled 327 children (mean age 1•9 [SD 0•9] years; range 5 months to 4•4 years), 197 daycare centre staff (mean age 40 [12] years), and 164 adults in the comparator group (42 [12] years). Positive serological tests were observed for 14 children (raw seroprevalence 4•3%; 95% CI 2•6-7•1) and 14 daycare centre staff (7•7%; 4•2-11•6). After accounting for imperfect sensitivity and specificity of the assay, we estimated that 3•7% (95% credible interval [95% CrI] 1•3-6•8) of the children and 6•8% (3•2-11•5) of daycare centre staff had SARS-CoV-2 infection. The comparator group fared similarly to the daycare centre staff; nine participants had a positive serological test (raw seroprevalence 5•5%; 95% CI 2•9-10•1), leading to a seroprevalence of 5•0% (95% CrI 1•6-9•8) after accounting for assay characteristics. An exploratory analysis suggested that seropositive children were more likely than seronegative children to have been exposed to an adult household member with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 (six [43%] of 14 vs 19 [6%] of 307; relative risk 7•1 [95% CI 2•2-22•4]). Interpretation According to serological test results, the proportion of young children in our sample with SARS-CoV-2 infection was low. Intrafamily transmission seemed more plausible than transmission within daycare centres. Further epidemiological studies are needed to confirm this exploratory hypothesis.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-03226760
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 20, 2021 - 2:47:35 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 11, 2021 - 1:20:05 PM

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Eric Lachassinne, Loïc de Pontual, Marion Caseris, Mathie Lorrot, Carole Guilluy, et al.. SARS-CoV-2 transmission among children and staff in daycare centres during a nationwide lockdown in France: a cross-sectional, multicentre, seroprevalence study. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, Elsevier, 2021, 5 (4), pp.256-264. ⟨10.1016/S2352-4642(21)00024-9⟩. ⟨inserm-03226760v2⟩

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