Covid-19 in Children and Young Adolescents in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates- a Retrospective Cross-Sectional Study

Front Pediatr. 2021 Jan 18;8:603741. doi: 10.3389/fped.2020.603741. eCollection 2020.

Abstract

Aim: In this retrospective single-center study, we report our experience with a cohort of children admitted to our hospital in Al Ain City, United Arab Emirates, with confirmed COVID-19. We also compare our findings to similar reports in the literature. Patients and Methods: Between 1st March and 31st May 2020, we reviewed the electronic patient medical records of all children with confirmed COVID-19 (ICD-10 code U07.1) managed in Al Ain hospital, designated as the only COVID-19 center in the city. Results: There were 288 children admitted with a confirmed diagnosis of Covid-19 during the study period (mean age 7.3 years, median 6.5, range 1 month to 16.9 years). The age-specific point prevalence was the highest under the age of 5 years (mean 2.0 per 1,000, 95% ci 1.7, 2.4) and decreased progressively to 0.6 per 1,000 (95% ci 0.4, 0.9) over the age of 14 years. Hospital admission was required for 193 (67%) children while 95 (33%) were discharged from the emergency department. Most children (n = 214, 74%) had been exposed to a family member with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and asthma which was the most frequent comorbidity (n = 37, 13%). The most common symptoms were cough (n = 130, 45%), fever (n = 14, 4.8%), upper respiratory tract infection (n = 93, 32.3%), and lower respiratory tract infection in 28 (9.7%). None of the children presented with acute respiratory distress syndrome, neurological symptoms, sepsis, or septic shock. Neutropenia (absolute neutrophil count or ANC< 1.5 × 109/L) was observed in 10.4% and thrombocytopenia (<150 platelets × 109/L) in 72% of children. Nineteen patients (9%) had abnormal imaging studies (chest X-ray and chest computed tomography). Abnormalities were bilateral in six (43%), right-sided in seven (50%) with only one child (7%) with left-sided involvement. None of the children required invasive respiratory support, but four (1.4%) required noninvasive respiratory support. The median length of hospital stay was 3.3 days [1.9, 5.9]. There were no deaths in the hospital even in those with comorbidities. Conclusions: Our results confirm previous reports of mild illness of COVID-19 in our child population, even in those with comorbidities. The age-standardized prevalence was higher in children (<5 years) compared to young adolescents.

Keywords: 2019-nCoV; COVID-19; SARS-CoV2; children; coronavirus; prevalence.