Objectives To compare the clinical and laboratory features of severe acute respiratory syndrome 2003 (SARS) and coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in two Chinese pediatric cohorts, given that the causative pathogens and are biologically similar.
Study design This is a cross-sectional study reviewing paediatric patients with SARS (n = 43) and COVID-19 (n=244) who were admitted to the Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong and Wuhan Children’s Hospital in Wuhan, respectively. Demographics, hospital length of stay, clinical and laboratory features were compared RESULTS: Overall, 97.7% of patients with SARS and 85.2% of patients with COVID-19 had epidemiological associations with known cases. Significantly more patients with SARS developed fever, chills, myalgia, malaise, coryza, sore throat, sputum production, nausea, headache, and dizziness than patients COVID-19. No SARS patients were asymptomatic at the time of admission. 29.1% and 20.9% COVID-19 patients were asymptomatic on admission and throughout their hospital stay, respectively. More SARS patients required oxygen supplementation than COVID-19 patients (18.6 vs. 4.7%, P = 004). Only 1.6% COVID-19 and 2.3% SARS patients required mechanical ventilation. Leukopenia (37.2% vs. 18.6%, p=0.008), lymphopenia (95.4% versus 32.6%, p<0.01), and thrombocytopenia (41.9% vs 3.8%, p<0.001) were significantly more common in SARS than COVID-19 patients. The duration between positive and negative nasopharyngeal aspirate and the length in hospital stay were similar in COVID-19 patients regardless of whether they were asymptomatic or symptomatic, suggesting a similar duration of viral shedding.
Conclusions Children with COVID-19 were less symptomatic and had more favorable hematological findings than children with SARS.
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