Massive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR Testing on Rural Communities in Manabi Province (Ecuador) Reveals Severe COVID-19 Outbreaks

Rural communities from Latin America are particularly susceptible to develop serious outbreaks of infectious diseases. Inadequate diagnosis and poor health infrastructure jeopardize proper contact tracing and other actions to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in the region. We herein describe the preliminary data of our ongoing fieldwork of massive testing among nonhospitalized rural population in Manabi Province of the coastal region of Ecuador. A total of 1,479 people from six different rural communities were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-qPCR following the CDC protocol; 350 individuals tested positive, resulting in an overall attack rate of 23.7% for SARS-CoV-2 infection. This ultrahigh prevalence must urge to the public health authorities from Ecuador to take immediate actions to counteract this dramatic scenario in Manabi Province and to improve SARS-CoV-2 testing countrywide.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Miguel Angel Garcia-Bereguiain, One Health Research Group, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Las Américas, Campus Queri, Calle Jose Queri, 100101, Quito, Ecuador. E-mail:

Financial support: This study was supported by Fundación CRISFE (fondo Sumar Juntos) and Universidad de Las Américas.

Disclosure: All authors contributed to data collection, analysis, and writing of the manuscript.

UDLA COVID-Team: Tatiana Jaramillo, Daniela Santander Gordon, Gabriel Alfredo Iturralde, Julio Alejandro Teran, Karen Marcela Vasquez, Jonathan Dario Rondal, Genoveva Granda, Ana Cecilia Santamaria, Cynthia Lorena Pino, Oscar Lenin Espinosa, Angie Buitron, David Sanchez Grisales, Karina Beatriz Jimenez, Heberson Galvis, Barbara Coronel, Diana Carolina Morales Jadan, Vanessa Bastidas, Dayana Marcela Aguilar, Ines Maria Paredes, Christian David Bilvao, Maria Belen Rodriguez Paredes, Sebastian Rodriguez Pazmiño, Juan Carlos Laglaguano, Henry Herrera, Pablo Marcelo Espinosa, Edison Andres Galarraga, Marlon Steven Zambrano-Mila, Ana Maria Tito, Nelson David Zapata.

Authors’ addresses: Esteban Ortiz-Prado, Aquiles R. Henriquez-Trujillo, Ismar A. Rivera-Olivero, Byron Freire-Paspuel, Alexander Paolo Vallejo-Janeta, Tannya Lozada, and Miguel Angel Garcia-Bereguiainon, One Health Research Group, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Las Américas, Quito, Ecuador, E-mails:,,,,,, and