In US, 1.7% of COVID-19 cases occur in children
As of April 2, just 1.7% of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States occurred in children, with more males than females being infected, according to new data published in MMWR.
Data from 149,760 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases between Feb. 12 and April 2 showed that 2,572 were patients younger than age 18 years, with a median age of 11 years among pediatric cases. Three children died, although a review to confirm the disease as the likely cause of death is still underway, according to the authors of the report.
Among the 11% of pediatric cases for which data on signs and symptoms of COVID-19 were available, 73% of children experienced either fever, cough or shortness of breath compared with 93% of adult patients. Myalgia (23%), sore throat (24%), headache (28%) and diarrhea (13%) also were less prevalent than in adults. Seventy-eight pediatric patients did not have any symptoms, but 53 of these cases could not be classified as asymptomatic because of incomplete symptom information, the authors said.
Among the children for whom hospitalization status was known, 20% were hospitalized. Fifteen kids were admitted to an ICU.
“These findings are largely consistent with a report on pediatric COVID-19 patients aged [younger than] 16 years in China, which found that only 41.5% of pediatric patients had fever, 48.5% had cough, and 1.8% were admitted to an ICU,” the authors wrote.
Children aged younger than1 year had the highest hospitalization rate, estimated between 15% to 62%. Out of 95 children aged younger than 1 year with known hospitalization status, five of them were admitted to the ICU. The percentage of patients aged 1 to 17 years who were hospitalized was lower, estimated between 4.1% to 14%, “with little variation among age groups,” according to the authors.
Underlying conditions were reported in 23% of children with relevant data, most commonly chronic lung conditions, which included asthma. Cardiovascular disease and immunosuppressed conditions were the next most commonly reported conditions. – by Ken Downey Jr.
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.