Epidemiological and Clinical Characteristics of Children with Coronavirus Disease 2019
27 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2020More...
Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a newly identified pathogen which mainly spreads by droplets. Most published studies focused on adult patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but data concerning pediatric patients is limited. This study aimed to determine epidemiological characteristics and clinical features of pediatric patients with COVID-19.
Methods: We reviewed and analyzed data on pediatric patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, including basic information, epidemiological history, clinical manifestations, laboratory and radiologic findings, treatment, outcome and follow-up results.
Findings: From January 20 th to February 27 th of 2020, a total of 74 pediatric patients with COVID-19 were included in this study. Of the 68 cases whose epidemiological data were complete, 65 (65/68, 95.59%) cases were household contacts of adults whose symptoms developed earlier. Forty (59.46%) of the infected children were male, and the median age and body weight are 6 (0.10-15.08) years and 24 (4.20-87.00) kg, respectively. Except for one critically ill case, 20 (27.03%) patients did not show any symptoms of infection, 24 (32.43%) patients had acute upper respiratory tract infection and 29 (39.19%) patients were diagnosed with mild pneumonia. Cough (24/74, 32.43%) and fever (20, 27.03%) were the predominant symptoms of 44 (59.46%) symptomatic patients at onset of the illness. Abnormalities in leukocyte count were found in 23 (31.08%) children and 10 (13.51%) children presented with abnormal lymphocyte count. Of the 34 (45.95%) patients who had nucleic acid testing results for common respiratory pathogens, 19 (19 / 34, 51.35%) showed co-infection with other pathogens other than SARS-CoV-2. Ten (13.51%) children had RT-PCR analysis of SARS-CoV-2 for fecal specimens and 8 of them showed prolonged existence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA 11 (5-23) days after nasopharynx swabs turning negative. Abnormalities in chest imaging were observed in 37 (50.00%) patients and 28 (37.84%) of them only presented with nontypical changes. All children had good prognosis with a median hospitalization duration of 11 days and follow-up period of 16.5 days. During the follow-up period, all the patients remained in quarantine at designated site and home for two 14-day observation periods and showed no clinical manifestation, but 3 of the 8 cases with prolonged fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 still showed positive result of feces test.
Interpretation: Pediatric patients with COVID-19 presented with distinct epidemiological, clinical, and radiological characteristics from adult patients. Nearly half of the infected children had co-infection with other common respiratory pathogens. It is not uncommon for pediatric patients to have prolonged fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 RNA during the convalescent phase. More investigations would be warranted to facilitate the diagnosis, prevention and control of COVID-19 in children.
Funding Statement: This work is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) [Grant number 81770315]; Distinguished Taishan Scholars (2019); Qingdao Outstanding Young Health Professional Development Fund (2020) and Qingdao People's Livelihood Science and Technology Program(17-3-3-6-nsh).
Declaration of Interests: All authors declare no competing interests.
Ethics Approval Statement: This study was approved by the institutional review board of the ethics committee in our hospital (QFELL-KY-2020-11) and written informed consent was obtained from patients’ legal guardians prior to enrollment.
Keywords: Coronavirus disease 2019, SARS-CoV-2, pediatric patient
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