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Seroprevalence of IgG antibodies to SARS-coronavirus in asymptomatic or subclinical population groups

  • G. M. LEUNG (a1) (a2), W. W. LIM (a3), L.-M. HO (a1), T.-H. LAM (a1), A. C. GHANI (a4), C. A. DONNELLY (a4), C. FRASER (a4), S. RILEY (a4), N. M. FERGUSON (a4), R. M. ANDERSON (a4) and A. J. HEDLEY (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 22 July 2005

We systematically reviewed the current understanding of human population immunity against SARS-CoV in different groups, settings and geography. Our meta-analysis, which included all identified studies except those on wild animal handlers, yielded an overall seroprevalence of 0·10% [95% confidence interval (CI) 0·02–0·18]. Health-care workers and others who had close contact with SARS patients had a slightly higher degree of seroconversion (0·23%, 95% CI 0·02–0·45) compared to healthy blood donors, others from the general community or non-SARS patients recruited from the health-care setting (0·16%, 95% CI 0–0·37). When analysed by the two broad classes of testing procedures, it is clear that serial confirmatory test protocols resulted in a much lower estimate (0·050%, 95% CI 0–0·15) than single test protocols (0·20%, 95% CI 0·06–0·34). Potential epidemiological and laboratory pitfalls are also discussed as they may give rise to false or inconsistent results in measuring the seroprevalence of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV.

Corresponding author
Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China. (Email:
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Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
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