According to a new study, the degree of frequency of COVID-19 among infants may depend on the degree of pandemic virus circulating in a community.
Published online June 30 in the magazine Pediatrics, the study specifically found that rates of infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 were higher among babies hospitalized, not for COVID-19, but because they were being evaluated for a possible severe bacterial infection (SBI) during periods of high COVID-19 circulation in New York City. The study also found that COVID-19 positivity rates in this age group were lower when infection rates in the city were low.
Led by NYU Langone Health researchers, the study also examined the clinical course of the infection in young infants and found that the most common presentation of COVID-19 was a fever with no other symptoms.
“Improving our knowledge of how COVID-19 infection affects infants is important to report clinical practice, and to plan public health measures such as the distribution of vaccination, “says Vanessa N. Raabe, Ph.D. the study.
New York City was the early epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States, with more than 190,000 infections reported during the peak of the New York epidemic between March and May 2020. Three percent of reported cases were be in children under 18 years of age. , although these figures may underestimate the true incidence given the lack of adequate evidence. Most children infected with the disease were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. However, cases of serious illness have been reported and some reports suggest that infants may have a higher risk of developing serious illnesses than older children.
Babies are usually treated with antibiotics in the hospital when they have a fever until doctors can make sure they do not have a serious bacterial infection, such as meningitis or a bloodstream infection, according to the study authors.
“Because fever is a common symptom of COVID-19 in children, physicians should consider COVID-19 as a potential cause of fever and not rely solely on laboratory results or imaging to guide decision-making. on whether or not to test hospitalized children to detect COVID. -19 “, says Dr. Raabe.
The current study analyzed data on infants under 90 days admitted for SBI assessment at New York Langone Health and NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue Hospital hospitals between March and December 2020. Among 148 infants, 15 % tested positive for COVID-19 and two of the 22 babies with COVID-19 required admission to the ICU, but were discharged safely. Specifically, the team found that only 3 percent of babies tested positive during periods of low community circulation, compared with 31 percent in communities with high infection rates.
The team also found a relatively low incidence (six percent) of hospitalized infants ’infection with other commonly occurring viruses, whether or not they had COVID-19. “This probably reflects community-wide decreases in other respiratory viruses reported in New York during the study period due to the improvement infection control practices, such as social distancing and the use of masks, at the height of the pandemic, ”says Raabe.
Researchers recommend that clinicians continue to evaluate young children who present with fevers due to bacterial infections, regardless of the state of COVID-19, and consider the possible serious consequences if left untreated.
“It may be intuitive that what is happening in children reflects the conditions of the surrounding community, but we find it reassuring that the evidence confirms this relationship,” says lead author Michal Paret, MD, a member of the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatrics. Infectious diseases at NYU Langone. “The epidemiology of COVID-19 continues to evolve with the advent of virus variants and the implementation of vaccination. In the face of these changes, physicians must continue to study this age group, with the goal of determining in ultimately whether a selective or universal testing strategy serves the health of babies better in the long term. ”
NYU Langone Health
Citation: The prevalence of COVID-19 among hospitalized infants varies with community transmission levels (2021, June 30) recovered on June 30, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-prevalence-covid -hospitalized-infants-various. html
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