Background: The global spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to threaten all human health worldwide. Although the symptoms, signs, responses, and outcomes associated with the disease varies for individuals, few studies have reported on pediatric patients with COVID-19.
Methods: This study retrospectively reviewed the medical records from three tertiary hospitals in Anhui province, China, of 23 children with COVID-19. Here, epidemiologic characteristics, clinical features, laboratory test results, and treatment strategies for these pediatric patients are reported and analyzed.
Results: In total, 23 children with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were analyzed. All patients were given a nucleic acid detection test for SARS-CoV-2, and positive results confirmed the diagnosis of COVID-19. Ten patients (43.5%) were female, and 19 patients (82.6%) had defined exposure history and familial clustering. The youngest patient was 16 months of age, the oldest, 17 years. The clinical symptoms of all included pediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection were mild, with cough (12, 52.2%) and fever (10, 43.5%) being the most frequent, making their symptoms indistinguishable from common respiratory infections. There was no difference in clinical manifestation between males and females (P > 0.05). Eight patients (34.8%) showed changes on chest computed tomography imaging. The median level of each laboratory test parameter was within the normal reference range. Treatments primarily included antiviral therapies, traditional Chinese medicine therapies, and symptomatic supportive treatment.
Conclusions: The symptoms of all 23 pediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection included in this study were mild. Because the primary presenting symptoms were indistinguishable from common respiratory infections and because most patients had an exposure history and familial clustering, we recommend supporting the diagnosis of mild or atypical COVID-19 in children with detailed epidemiologic information and chest computed tomography imaging as well as with nucleic acid detection tests. Obtaining a correct diagnosis in the early stage of the disease will contribute to controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection and to providing more immediate relevant treatment for infected children.