Clinical presentations and outcome of severe acute respiratory syndrome in children

Lancet. 2003 May 17;361(9370):1701-3. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(03)13364-8.


Hong Kong has been severely affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Contact in households and health-care settings is thought to be important for transmission, putting children at particular risk. Most data so far, however, have been for adults. We prospectively followed up the first ten children with SARS managed during the early phase of the epidemic in Hong Kong. All the children had been in close contact with infected adults. Persistent fever, cough, progressive radiographic changes of chest and lymphopenia were noted in all patients. The children were treated with high-dose ribavirin, oral prednisolone, or intravenous methylprednisolone, with no short-term adverse effects. Four teenagers required oxygen therapy and two needed assisted ventilation. None of the younger children required oxygen supplementation. Compared with adults and teenagers, SARS seems to have a less aggressive clinical course in younger children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cefotaxime / administration & dosage
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Clarithromycin / administration & dosage
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / therapeutic use
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Lung / diagnostic imaging
  • Lymphopenia / etiology
  • Methylprednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy
  • Prednisolone / administration & dosage
  • Prospective Studies
  • Ribavirin / administration & dosage
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / complications
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Ribavirin
  • Prednisolone
  • Clarithromycin
  • Cefotaxime
  • Methylprednisolone