Background Ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease-19 (CoVID-19) results in fast increasing patient number in China and many other countries. Published articles on CoVID-19 had focused on reporting the characteristics of adults. The data of children is limited. We aimed to clarify the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of CoVID-19 in children.
Methods We prospectively followed up 31 confirmed cases < 18 years of age with SARS-CoV-2 infection in Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital between Jan 16, 2020, and Feb 19, 2020. All 31 cases were confirmed as having SARS-CoV-2 in upper respiratory tract specimens by real-time RT-PCR.The epidemiological, demographic, clinical, laboratory, and radiological profiles and treatment outcomes were analysed.
Findings All 31 cases had no Huanan seafood market exposure. 29 (93.5%) children are in family clusters. 12 (38.7%) children had no symptoms. Fever were observed in 14 (45.2%) children. The duration of fever was 1–9 days (median:2 [IQR 1-3]). There were 13 (41.9%) cases had cough. Lymphocytes above the normal range were seen in 17 children, and lymphocytes below the normal range were not seen. 12 (38.7%) children exhibited elevated lactate dehydrogenase levels. Increase of erythocyte sedimentation rate were seen in 10 (32.3%) patients. Chest CT image were normal in 20 (64.5%) cases, one of which become unilateral pneumonia later in clinical course. 8 (25.8%) patients showed unilateral pneumonia and 1 patient progress for bilateral pneumonia (Table 4.). 3 (9.7%) patients had bilateral pneumonia. 23 (74.2%) children had been discharged. The other children are afebrile, and their clinical symptoms are decreasing in severity.
Interpretation Children are susceptible to infection by SARS-CoV-2. Our preliminary findings show that children develop a milder form of the disease with a less-aggressive clinical course than do adults.
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