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Coronavirus in children no different from other respiratory viral infections

24 Jul 2020

Human coronavirus (HCoV) infections in children represent only a small proportion of respiratory infections requiring hospitalization, according to a study, adding that HCoV infections do not differ significantly from other respiratory viral infections.

The study involved 5,131 hospitalizations in children due to respiratory causes, of which 3,901 (75.9 percent) had a positive viral identification and 205 (4.1 percent) were positive for HCoV. Only 41 cases (20 percent) of HCoV infections were diagnosed as single infections.

The most common diagnosis was episodes of recurrent wheezing. Notably, more than half of children (n=112; 55 percent) with HCoV infection had hypoxia.

Clinical data in HCoV cases were similar to those associated with rhinovirus, but patients with HCoV were usually younger. In addition, other viruses were related to hypoxia more frequently as compared to HCoV cases. High fever was more common in influenza infections and bronchiolitis in respiratory syncytial virus group.

Of note, HCoV infection showed a slight peak of circulation in winter, but it has been detected throughout the year as well.

“HCoVs have been recognized as causative agents of respiratory tract infections,” the authors said.

This study was part of an ongoing prospective study to identify the aetiology of viral respiratory infections in Spain. The authors analysed HCoV infections in children hospitalized in a secondary hospital in Madrid between October 2005 and June 2018 and compared clinical data of these patients with those infected by rhinovirus, influenza, and respiratory syncytial virus.

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