Novel coronavirus infection in children outside of Wuhan, China

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2020 Jun;55(6):1424-1429. doi: 10.1002/ppul.24762. Epub 2020 Apr 7.


Background: Since December 8, 2019, an epidemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread rapidly, but information about children with COVID-19 is limited.

Methods: This retrospective and the single-center study were done at the Public Health Clinic Center of Changsha, Hunan, China. We identified all hospitalized children diagnosed with COVID-19 between January 8, 2019 and February 19, 2020, in Changsha. Epidemiological and clinical data of these children were collected and analyzed. Outcomes were followed until February 26th, 2020.

Results: By February 19, 2020, nine pediatric patients were identified as having 2019-nCoV infection in Changsha. Six children had a family exposure and could provide the exact dates of close contact with someone who was confirmed to have 2019-nCoV infection, among whom the median incubation period was 7.5 days. The initial symptoms of the nine children were mild, including fever (3/9), diarrhea (2/9), cough (1/9), and sore throat (1/9), two had no symptoms. Two of the enrolled patients showed small ground-glass opacity of chest computed tomography scan. As of February 26, six patients had a negative RT-PCR for 2019-nCoV and were discharged. The median time from exposure to a negative RT-PCR was 14 days.

Conclusions: The clinical symptoms of the new coronavirus infection in children were not typical and showed a less aggressive clinical course than teenage and adult patients. Children who have a familial clustering or have a family member with a definite diagnosis should be reported to ensure a timely diagnosis.

Keywords: children; clinical characteristics; coronavirus disease 2019.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification
  • COVID-19
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • China / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed