New Search

Export article
Open Access

Genomic epidemiology of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Zimbabwe: Role of international travel and regional migration in spread

, Faustinos Tatenda Takawira, , Muchaneta Gudza-Mugabe, , Manes Munyanyi, , Andrew Tarupiwa, Hlanai Gumbo, Agnes Juru,
Show More
Published: 6 January 2021
Abstract: Zimbabwe reported its first case of SARS-Cov-2 infection in March 2020, and case numbers increased to more than 8,099 to 16th October 2020. An understanding of the SARS-Cov-2 outbreak in Zimbabwe will assist in the implementation of effective public health interventions to control transmission. Nasopharyngeal samples from 92,299 suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Zimbabwe between 20 March and 16 October 2020 were obtained. Available demographic data associated with those cases identified as positive (8,099) were analysed to describe the national breakdown of positive cases over time in more detail (geographical location, sex, age and travel history). The whole genome sequence (WGS) of one hundred SARS-CoV-2-positive samples from the first 120 days of the epidemic in Zimbabwe was determined to identify their relationship to one another and WGS from global samples. Overall, a greater proportion of infections were in males (55.5%) than females (44.85%), although in older age groups more females were affected than males. Most COVID-19 cases (57 %) were in the 20-40 age group. Eight lineages, from at least 25 separate introductions into the region were found using comparative genomics. Of these, 95% had the D614G mutation on the spike protein which was associated with higher transmissibility than the ancestral strain. Early introductions and spread of SARS-CoV-2 were predominantly associated with genomes common in Europe and the United States of America (USA), and few common in Asia at this time. As the pandemic evolved, travel-associated cases from South Africa and other neighbouring countries were also recorded. Transmission within quarantine centres occurred when travelling nationals returning to Zimbabwe. International and regional migration followed by local transmission were identified as accounting for the development of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Zimbabwe. Based on this, rapid implementation of public health interventions are critical to reduce local transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Impact of the predominant G614 strain on severity of symptoms in COVID-19 cases needs further investigation.
Keywords: Implementation / Zimbabwe / Public Health Interventions / Sars Cov / Regional Migration

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

Share this article

References (31)
    Cited by 1 articles
      Back to Top Top