Does Covid-19 in Children Have a Milder Course than Influenza?

Int J Clin Pract. 2021 Jun 9;e14466. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.14466. Online ahead of print.


Background: In December 2019, a novel type of coronavirus infection emerged in the Wuhan province of China and began to spread rapidly. In this study, we aimed to determine the differences between COVID-19 disease and Influenza.

Methods: This retrospective study included 164 children with COVID-19, as well as 46 children with Influenza. The two groups were compared with respect to clinical and laboratory parameters, and the rates of intensive care and mechanical ventilation requirement.

Results: In both groups, the most common admission complaints were fever and cough. As compared to the COVID-19 group, the Influenza group had significantly higher rates of cough (37[80.4%] & 38[23.2%]), fever (31[67.4%] & 34[20.7%]), muscle pain (34[73.9%] & 31[18.9%]), vomiting (13[28.9%] & 8[4.9%]) and tachypnea (32[69.6%] & 3[1.8%]) (p<0.01 for all comparisons). The mean WBC count (7.10±1.08 vs. 10.90±1.82), mean neutrophil count (3.19±0.58 vs. 6.04±0.97), APTT, CRP, procalcitonin, ALT, and LDH levels were significantly lower in the COVID-19 group compared to the Influenza group (P<0.05 for all comparisons). There was, however, no significant difference between the mean lymphocyte counts of both groups. The Influenza group had significantly higher rates of intensive care requirement (19 [41.3%] vs 3 [1.8%]) and mechanical ventilation requirement (16 [34.8%] vs 2 [1.2%] as well as a significantly higher mortality rate (7 [15.2%] vs 2 [1.2%]) than the COVID-19 group (p<0.01).

Conclusion: COVID-19 and Influenza may share similar clinical features. According to our findings, however, we believe that COVID-19 disease has a milder clinical and laboratory course than Influenza in children.

Keywords: COVID-19; Influenza; clinic; laboratory; mortality.