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Sociodemographic characteristics and risk factors related to SARS-CoV-2 infection in Luanda, Angola

Our take —

Using surveillance data paired with questionnaires from 622 individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection at a research institute in Luanda, Angola, 14.3% tested positive. The odds of infection were higher among older individuals and those living in rural areas. Despite low data availability, this is one of the first studies to shed light on the characteristics associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in sub-Saharan Africa, and Angola more specifically.

Study design


Study population and setting

In this study, the associations between sociodemographic and SARS-CoV-2 test results were examined among 622 individuals at a research institute in Luanda, Angola (Instituto Nacional de Investigacão em Sau´de) between January and September 2020. Sociodemographic characteristics were collected using a surveillance questionnaire. Testing was performed because of suspected COVID-19, exposure to someone infected with SARS-CoV-2, or travel to a place with active transmission. Testing was performed using smears or swabs from the upper respiratory tract. Screening and confirmation were performed using RT-PCR assay.

Summary of Main Findings

Overall, 14.3% (89/622) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. There was no difference between men and women, but older individuals and those from rural areas had a greater burden of disease. For those 60 years and older, the odds of infection was 23.3 times higher than that of those less than 10 years old (adjusted OR: 23.3; 95% CI: 4.83, 112), however estimates by age group were unstable due to small sample sizes within age sub-groups. Still, the odds of infection was higher for every age group compared with those less than 10 years old. Those living outside of Luanda had 7 times the odds of infection compared to those living in Luanda (aOR: 7.4; 95% CI:1.64, 33.4).

Study Strengths

This study was able to link sociodemographic results from a routine survey with regular testing from a research institute.


It is noted that 622 individuals were analyzed as part of this study out of the 16,028 individuals tested during this time period, but there is no reference to how these individuals were sampled or to whom these results might apply. From the results, it appears as though 622 individuals completed the survey. There is no discussion on how these individuals may be different from those who did not complete the survey, potentially biasing the results of characteristics identified to be associated with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test.

Value added

This is one of the few studies to examine characteristics of those infected with SARS-CoV-2 in sub-Saharan Africa.

This review was posted on: 16 April 2021