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Background: On the 05th April 2020, the first confirmed case of covid-19 infection was registered in the Lom & Djerem division, more precisely in the city of Bertoua (East Region of Cameroon). This alert confirming the presence of covid-19 infection in the region, also stepped up the search for suspected and confirmed cases of covid-19 infection by the rapid intervention and investigation teams (RIIT) set up by the East Regional Delegation of public health, in order to prevent the spread of covid-19 infection in the region and also to ensure the effective care for people already infected. In turn, this situation prompted us to conduct this study with the general objective of highlighting the epidemiological profile of covid-19 infection by determining its prevalence in the East Region of Cameroon and also to assess the knowledges and practices of its barrier measures by the population.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study with prospective data collection from the 05th April 2020 to the 30th July 2020 on 1003 participants infected with COVID-19 and also on the persons who had been in contact with them. Our study population was distributed in all the 4 divisions from the East Region of Cameroon, namely Lom & Djerem, Kadey, Haut-Nyong and Boumba & Ngoko. We included in our study, all symptomatic and asymptomatic participants at high risk of infection who had direct or indirect contact with patients infected with COVID-19. The screening for COVID-19 infection was done by taking samples from a nasopharyngeal swab, analyzed either by a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) or by RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction) in the laboratory of molecular biology at the Regional Hospital of Bertoua city. The therapeutic protocol used by our participants was Hydroxychloroquine 100 mg + Azithromycin 250 mg + Zinc + Calcium Ca-c1000.
Results: During our study period, we registered 1306 alerts of suspected cases for COVID-19 infection in a general population of 1146981 inhabitants in the East region of Cameroon, among which we identified 1003 cases for COVID-19 infection, for an overall prevalence of 76.8% (95% CI [70.1%-80.3%]). Asymptomatic participants were the most represented with a rate of 65.4% compared to symptomatic participants who represented only 34.6% of cases (P=0.01). The prevalences of these two types of participants (Asymptomatic and Symptomatic) were respectively 50.23% (95% CI [48.21%-53.64%]) and 26.57% (95% CI [24.68% -27.96%]). HIV infection was the most common comorbidity among our participants with a rate of 47.15%. Among the 1003 participants infected with COVID-19 registered in our study, we counted 720 (71.78%) cases of cure after the treatment received, 258 (25.72%) active cases and 25 deaths, for a case fatality rate of 2.5%. 51 cases for COVID-19 infection were registered among healthcare professionals, for a rate of 5.08%.
Conclusion: The contamination of participants in our study was strongly associated with their level of knowledge and practice of barrier measures against Covid-19 infection.
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