Characterisation of COVID-19 Pandemic in Paediatric Age Group: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

J Clin Virol. 2020 Jul;128:104395. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2020.104395. Epub 2020 May 8.

Abstract

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a pandemic first originated in Wuhan the capital of Hubei province, China in December 2019 and then spread globally. It is caused by SARS-CoV-2. Until 1st April 2020, the number of cases worldwide was recorded to be 823,626 with 40,598 deaths. Most of the reported cases were adults with few cases described in children and neonates.

Objectives: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to analyse the disease characterisation in paediatric age group including the possibility of vertical transmission to the neonates.

Methods: Articles published up to 2nd April 2020 in PubMed and google Scholar were considered for this study.

Findings: The most frequently reported symptoms were cough 49% (95% CI: 42 - 55%) and fever 47% (95% CI: 41- 53%). Lymphopenia and increased Procalcitonin were recorded in (21%, 95% CI: 12 - 30%) and (28%, 95% CI: 18 - 37%) respectively. No sex difference for COVID-19 was found in paediatric age group (p = 0.7). Case fatality rate was 0%. Four out of 58 neonates (6.8%) born to COVID-19 confirmed mothers tested positive for the disease.

Conclusion: The disease trajectory in Paediatric patients has good prognosis compared to adults. Intensive care unit and death are rare. Vertical transmission and virus shedding in breast milk are yet to be established.

Keywords: COVID-19; Paediatrics; SARS-CoV-2; Wuhan; vertical transmission.

Publication types

  • Review