Background Despite increasing reports and studies about COVID-19 in children over the last nine months, there is still much to be discovered about the true incidence, clinical presentations and transmission rates in children. Fever and respiratory symptoms remain the main clinical presentations in COVID-19 positive children. Symptoms of COVID-19 in the paediatric population appear to be less severe compared to those experienced in the adult population and there is a low case fatality rate for COVID-19 in children. More recently there have been increasing reports of children with Paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 (PIMS).
Objectives The objectives of this study were to evaluate the spectrum of clinical presentations and evolution of clinical symptoms, management and outcomes of children with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 who presented to secondary care to help guide future management of these patients. We also describe two cases of Paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with COVID-19 (PIMS).
Methods Our study is a retrospective observational study which identified 21 patients aged 1 month to 18 years with positive COVID-19 PCR and 2 patients with PIMS over a 10 week period in 4 district general hospitals within Yorkshire. The main outcome measures included symptoms prior to hospital presentation, length of hospital stay and length of symptoms; investigations including Chest x-ray, CRP and blood culture, and the presence of symptomatic contacts or contacts with positive COVID-19 swab results.
Results Our study demonstrated that fever, cough and reduced oral intake were the three most common clinical presentations of COVID-19 in children. Our results are tabulated for presentation but to summarise our results; 71% of the children required a period of hospital admission and of these, 80% were admitted for between 1 to 3 days. The patients who required prolonged hospital admissions were in the younger age group or had underlying medical conditions. 100% of patients who had blood cultures performed had negative blood culture results. Only 25% of patients had bilateral consolidation on chest X-ray findings. All 21 of the patients in this study were discharged home and did not require admission to intensive care. The 2 patients with PIMS were transferred to a Paediatric Intensive Care (PICU) but have since been discharged home and remain under follow up. Our study is the first to describe photophobia as a presenting feature of COVID-19 in one patient, and chest pain in a second patient.
Conclusions Fever, cough and reduced oral intake were the top 3 presentations of COVID-19 in the patients included within this study. Paediatric patients who required prolonged hospital admissions (>7 days) were in the younger age group or had underlying medical conditions. This study is the first to describe photophobia as a presenting feature of COVID-19 in one patient, and chest pain in a second patient. Larger studies and more widespread testing are required to ascertain the true incidence in the paediatric population.
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