Clinical and epidemiological features of 36 children with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Zhejiang, China: an observational cohort study
Background Since December, 2019, an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread globally. Little is known about the epidemiological and clinical features of paediatric patients with COVID-19.
Methods We retrospectively retrieved data for paediatric patients (aged 0–16 years) with confirmed COVID-19 from electronic medical records in three hospitals in Zhejiang, China. We recorded patients’ epidemiological and clinical features.
Findings From Jan 17 to March 1, 2020, 36 children (mean age 8·3 [SD 3·5] years) were identified to be infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2. The route of transmission was by close contact with family members (32 [89%]) or a history of exposure to the epidemic area (12 [33%]); eight (22%) patients had both exposures. 19 (53%) patients had moderate clinical type with pneumonia; 17 (47%) had mild clinical type and either were asymptomatic (ten [28%]) or had acute upper respiratory symptoms (seven [19%]). Common symptoms on admission were fever (13 [36%]) and dry cough (seven [19%]). Of those with fever, four (11%) had a body temperature of 38·5°C or higher, and nine (25%) had a body temperature of 37·5–38·5°C. Typical abnormal laboratory findings were elevated creatine kinase MB (11 [31%]), decreased lymphocytes (11 [31%]), leucopenia (seven [19%]), and elevated procalcitonin (six [17%]). Besides radiographic presentations, variables that were associated significantly with severity of COVID-19 were decreased lymphocytes, elevated body temperature, and high levels of procalcitonin, D-dimer, and creatine kinase MB. All children received interferon alfa by aerosolisation twice a day, 14 (39%) received lopinavir–ritonavir syrup twice a day, and six (17%) needed oxygen inhalation. Mean time in hospital was 14 (SD 3) days. By Feb 28, 2020, all patients were cured.
Interpretation Although all paediatric patients in our cohort had mild or moderate type of COVID-19, the large proportion of asymptomatic children indicates the difficulty in identifying paediatric patients who do not have clear epidemiological information, leading to a dangerous situation in community-acquired infections.
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