Seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies, risk factors for infection and associated symptoms in Geneva, Switzerland: a population-based study

Aude Richard, Ania Wisniak, Javier Perez-Saez, Henri Garrison-Desany, Dusan Petrovic, Giovanni Piumatti, Hélène Baysson, Attilio Picazio, Francesco Pennacchio, David De Ridder, François Chappuis, Nicolas Vuilleumier, Nicola Low, Samia Hurst, Isabella Eckerle, Antoine Flahault, Laurent Kaiser, Andrew S. Azman, Idris Guessous, Silvia Stringhini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To assess SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence over the first epidemic wave in the canton of Geneva, Switzerland, as well as risk factors for infection and symptoms associated with IgG seropositivity. Methods: Between April and June 2020, former participants of a representative survey of the 20–74-year-old population of canton Geneva were invited to participate in the study, along with household members aged over 5 years. Blood samples were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G. Questionnaires were self-administered. We estimated seroprevalence with a Bayesian model accounting for test performance and sampling design. Results: We included 8344 participants, with an overall adjusted seroprevalence of 7.8% (95% credible interval 6.8–8.9). Seroprevalence was highest among 18–49 year-olds (9.5%), and lowest in 5–9-year-old children (4.3%) and individuals >65 years (4.7-5.4%). Odds of seropositivity were significantly reduced for female retirees and unemployed men compared to employed individuals, and smokers compared to non-smokers. We found no significant association between occupation, level of education, neighborhood income and the risk of being seropositive. The symptom most strongly associated with seropositivity was anosmia/dysgeusia. Conclusions: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 population seroprevalence remained low after the first wave in Geneva. Socioeconomic factors were not associated with seropositivity in this sample. The elderly, young children and smokers were less frequently seropositive, although it is not clear how biology and behaviours shape these differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-135
Number of pages12
JournalScandinavian journal of public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • population-based survey
  • seroprevalence
  • socioeconomic risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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