Role of children in household transmission of COVID-19

Arch Dis Child. 2021 Jul;106(7):709-711. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2020-319910. Epub 2020 Aug 7.


Objective: Transmissibility of COVID-19 by children in the household is not clear. Herein, we describe children's role in household transmission of COVID-19.

Design and setting: All paediatric COVID-19 index cases and their household members reported from 20 January to 6 April 2020 in South Korea were reviewed. The secondary attack rate (SAR) from child index case to household secondary case was calculated. Epidemiological and clinical findings of child index case-household secondary case pair was assessed.

Results: A total of 107 paediatric COVID-19 index cases and 248 of their household members were identified. One pair of paediatric index-secondary household case was identified, giving a household SAR of 0.5% (95% CI 0.0% to 2.6%). The index case was self-quarantined at home after international travel, stayed in her room, but shared a meal table with the secondary case.

Conclusion: The SAR from children to household members was low in the setting of social distancing, underscoring the importance of rigorous contact tracing and early isolation in limiting transmission within households.

Keywords: epidemiology; health services research; virology.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basic Reproduction Number
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • COVID-19* / transmission
  • Child
  • Contact Tracing* / methods
  • Contact Tracing* / statistics & numerical data
  • Education, Distance / methods
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Family Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Research
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Physical Distancing*
  • Quarantine / methods
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2