COVID-19 reinfection in Liberia: Implication for improving disease surveillance

Author: Godwin E. Akpan

Co-Authors:

Godwin E Akpan, Luke Bawo, Maame Amo-Addae, Jallah Kennedy, C Sanford Wesseh, Faith Whesseh, Peter Adewuyi, Lily Sanvee-Blebo, Joseph Babalola, Himiede W W Sesay, Trokon O Yeabah, Dikena Jackson, Fulton Shannon, Chukwuma David Umeokonkwo, Abraham W Nyenswah, Jane Macauley, Wilhelmina Jallah

Journal details:

PLoS One

PLoS One. 2022 Mar 24;17(3):e0265768. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0265768

Publication Date: March 24, 2022

Abstract

COVID-19 remains a serious disruption to human health, social, and economic existence. Reinfection with the virus intensifies fears and raises more questions among countries, with few documented reports. This study investigated cases of COVID-19 reinfection using patients’ laboratory test results between March 2020 and July 2021 in Liberia. Data obtained from Liberia’s Ministry of Health COVID-19 surveillance was analyzed in Excel 365 and ArcGIS Pro 2.8.2. Results showed that with a median interval of 200 days (Range: 99–415), 13 out of 5,459 cases were identified and characterized as reinfection in three counties during the country’s third wave of the outbreak. Eighty-six percent of the COVID-19 reinfection cases occurred in Montserrado County within high clusters, which accounted for over 80% of the randomly distributed cases in Liberia. More cases of reinfection occurred among international travelers within populations with high community transmissions. This study suggests the need for continued public education and surveillance to encourage longer-term COVID-19 preventive practices even after recovery.