In the Tyrolean ski resort of Ischgl in Austria, significantly more people were affected by the corona virus than previously known
In Ischgl, Austria, a large part of the population was infected with the corona virus. This is shown by a comprehensive study by the Medical University of Innsbruck with 42.4 percent of the citizens examined have antibodies against Sars-CoV-2. That is the highest value published worldwide, said the director of the institute for virology, Dorothee von Laer.
For comparison: In one of the first corona hotspots in Germany, Gangelt in the Heinsberg district, according to a study carried out at the beginning of April, a good 15 percent of the residents were infected or had already developed antibodies. According to the information from Innsbruck, comparable studies showed values of 27 percent for Val Gardena in South Tyrol and 10 percent for Geneva. Antibodies in the blood are considered to be evidence of a recent infection.
Most of the infections are asymptomatic
Around 80 percent of the Ischgl population took part in the study and 1473 were examined between April 21 and 27.
The results are striking – in addition to the high level of infection: Only 15 percent of these de facto infected people from Ischgl had previously been tested positive. Using a three-step procedure, the specificity of the antibody tests is 100 percent, the study authors explained. “So there are no false positive results,” said von Laer. In addition, the medical histories were collected using a questionnaire.
85 percent went through the infection unnoticed,” said von Laer. Of these 85 percent, about half had already had symptoms, but in many cases were so mild that the infection was dismissed as a cold, for example. According to the study, people between the ages of 18 and 60 were particularly affected; only 27 percent of the children under 18 examined had antibodies.
Virus probably already spread in February
The head of the study also assumes that “at least from the second half of February the virus was already circulating in Ischgl”. The study proves that Sars-CoV-2 must have been widespread in Ischgl as early as February as tourists and locals, had massive infection, said Peter Kolba from the consumer protection association.
The Ischgl ski resort and its immediate surroundings are the focal point for the spread of the corona virus in Austria and parts of Europe. A commission in the state of Tyrol should now take a close look at the highly criticized crisis management. The Paznaun Valley with the towns of Ischgl and Galtür was placed in quarantine on March 13. From the point of view of critics and those affected, this step should have been taken earlier.
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