Introduction Reports from China relating to Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in children indicate a milder disease course compared to adults. Whilst a few pediatric COVID-19 reports from other parts of the world exist, there are none from the UK. We describe the clinical characteristics of children with COVID-19 admitted to a specialist children’s hospital in UK.
Methods Retrospective case-series of inpatients with a positive polymerase chain reaction test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), during a six-week period from 14th March to 24th April 2020.
Results 45 children tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the study period. Median (IQR) age was 3.5 (0.7-12) years and 31 (69%) were male. Children with co-morbidities constituted 64% (29/45) of the study population, including 44% (20/45) who were considered ‘extremely vulnerable’. Fever (67%) and cough (55%) were the commonest symptoms. High C-reactive protein (>10 mg/L) was observed in 68% (19/28). Lymphopenia (<1.2 x109 /L) was observed in 23% (9/40) of children, but it was related to co-existing medical conditions in 6 children. Nine children required supplemental oxygen; two of whom received high-flow nasal cannula oxygen; one needed non-invasive ventilation and one child required invasive mechanical ventilation. Median length of stay of children with an admission outcome (n=42, 93%) was 3 (2-7) days. There were no COVID-19 related deaths.
Conclusions COVID-19 had a relatively mild course of illness in majority of the hospitalized children that included a sub-group of vulnerable children with significant co-morbidities. Confirmation of this in larger nationwide studies of children is required.
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