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1.
Viruses ; 14(7)2022 Jul 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1939013

ABSTRACT

The increased incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Spain in March 2020 led to the declaration by the Spanish government of a state of emergency imposing strict confinement measures on the population. The objective of this study was to characterize the nasopharyngeal microbiota of children and adults and its relation to SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity during the pandemic lockdown in Spain. This cross-sectional study included family households located in metropolitan Barcelona, Spain, with one adult with a previous confirmed COVID-19 episode and one or more exposed co-habiting child contacts. Nasopharyngeal swabs were used to determine SARS-CoV-2 infection status, characterize the nasopharyngeal microbiota and determine common respiratory DNA/RNA viral co-infections. A total of 173 adult cases and 470 exposed children were included. Overall, a predominance of Corynebacterium and Dolosigranulum and a limited abundance of common pathobionts including Haemophilus and Streptococcus were found both among adults and children. Children with current SARS-CoV-2 infection presented higher bacterial richness and increased Fusobacterium, Streptococcus and Prevotella abundance than non-infected children. Among adults, persistent SARS-CoV-2 RNA was associated with an increased abundance of an unclassified member of the Actinomycetales order. COVID-19 severity was associated with increased Staphylococcus and reduced Dolosigranulum abundance. The stringent COVID-19 lockdown in Spain had a significant impact on the nasopharyngeal microbiota of children, reflected in the limited abundance of common respiratory pathobionts and the predominance of Corynebacterium, regardless of SARS-CoV-2 detection. COVID-19 severity in adults was associated with decreased nasopharynx levels of healthy commensal bacteria.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Microbiota , Viruses , Adult , Bacteria/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Microbiota/genetics , Nasopharynx , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Streptococcus , Viruses/genetics
2.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0263741, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690714

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite their clear lesser vulnerability to COVID-19, the extent by which children are susceptible to getting infected by SARS-CoV-2 and their capacity to transmit the infection to other people remains inadequately characterized. We aimed to evaluate the role of school reopening and the preventive strategies in place at schools in terms of overall risk for children and community transmission, by comparing transmission rates in children as detected by a COVID-19 surveillance platform in place in Catalonian Schools to the incidence at the community level. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Infections detected in Catalan schools during the entire first trimester of classes (September-December 2020) were analysed and compared with the ongoing community transmission and with the modelled predicted number of infections. There were 30.486 infections (2.12%) documented among the circa 1.5M pupils, with cases detected in 54.0% and 97.5% of the primary and secondary centres, respectively. During the entire first term, the proportion of "bubble groups" (stable groups of children doing activities together) that were forced to undergo confinement ranged between 1 and 5%, with scarce evidence of substantial intraschool transmission in the form of chains of infections, and with ~75% of all detected infections not leading to secondary cases. Mathematical models were also used to evaluate the effect of different parameters related to the defined preventive strategies (size of the bubble group, number of days of confinement required by contacts of an index case). The effective reproduction number inside the bubble groups in schools (R*), defined as the average number of schoolmates infected by each primary case within the bubble, was calculated, yielding a value of 0.35 for primary schools and 0.55 for secondary schools, and compared with the outcomes of the mathematical model, implying decreased transmissibility for children in the context of the applied measures. Relative homogenized monthly cumulative incidence ([Formula: see text]) was assessed to compare the epidemiological dynamics among different age groups and this analysis suggested the limited impact of infections in school-aged children in the context of the overall community incidence. CONCLUSIONS: During the fall of 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 cases detected in Catalan schools closely mirrored the underlying community transmission from the neighbourhoods where they were set and maintaining schools open appeared to be safe irrespective of underlying community transmission. Preventive measures in place in those schools appeared to be working for the early detection and rapid containment of transmission and should be maintained for the adequate and safe functioning of normal academic and face-to-face school activities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Residence Characteristics , Schools , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Humans , Incidence , Models, Theoretical , Spain/epidemiology
3.
Front Immunol ; 13: 751705, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686480

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 affects children to a lesser extent than adults but they can still get infected and transmit SARS-CoV-2 to their contacts. Field deployable non-invasive sensitive diagnostic techniques are needed to evaluate the infectivity dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in pediatric populations and guide public health interventions, particularly if this population is not fully vaccinated. We evaluated the utility of high-throughput Luminex assays to quantify saliva IgM, IgA and IgG antibodies against five SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) antigens in a contacts and infectivity longitudinal study in 122 individuals (52 children and 70 adults). We compared saliva versus serum/plasma samples in infected children and adults diagnosed by weekly RT-PCR over 35 days (n=62), and those who consistently tested negative over the same follow up period (n=60), in the Summer of 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Saliva antibody levels in SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive individuals were significantly higher than in negative individuals and correlated with those measured in sera/plasmas. Asymptomatic infected individuals had higher levels of anti-S IgG than symptomatic individuals, suggesting a protective anti-disease role for antibodies. Higher anti-S IgG and IgM levels in serum/plasma and saliva, respectively, in infected children compared to infected adults could also be related to stronger clinical immunity in them. Among infected children, males had higher levels of saliva IgG to N and RBD than females. Despite overall correlation, individual clustering analysis suggested that responses that may not be detected in blood could be patent in saliva, and vice versa. In conclusion, measurement of SARS-CoV-2-specific saliva antibodies should be considered as a complementary non-invasive assay to serum/plasma to determine COVID-19 prevalence and transmission in pediatric populations before and after vaccination campaigns.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Immunoassay/methods , Saliva , Adult , Child , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/analysis , Immunoglobulin G/analysis , Immunoglobulin M/analysis , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Spain
4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(1): 66-73, 2022 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633721

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding the role of children in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission is critical to guide decision-making for schools in the pandemic. We aimed to describe the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among children and adult staff in summer schools. METHODS: During July 2020, we prospectively recruited children and adult staff attending summer schools in Barcelona who had SARS-CoV-2 infection. Primary SARS-CoV-2 infections were identified through (1) a surveillance program in 22 summer schools of 1905 participants, involving weekly saliva sampling for SARS-CoV-2 reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) during 2-5 weeks; and (2) cases identified through the Catalonian Health Surveillance System of children diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection by nasopharyngeal RT-PCR. All centers followed prevention protocols: bubble groups, handwashing, face masks, and conducting activities mostly outdoors. Contacts of a primary case within the same bubble were evaluated by nasopharyngeal RT-PCR. Secondary attack rates and the effective reproduction number in summer schools (Re*) were calculated. RESULTS: Among the >2000 repeatedly screened participants, 30 children and 9 adults were identified as primary cases. A total of 253 close contacts of these primary cases were studied (median, 9 [interquartile range, 5-10] for each primary case), among which 12 new cases (4.7%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. The Re* was 0.3, whereas the contemporary rate in the general population from the same areas in Barcelona was 1.9. CONCLUSIONS: The transmission rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection among children attending school-like facilities under strict prevention measures was lower than that reported for the general population. This suggests that under preventive measures schools are unlikely amplifiers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, supporting current recommendations for school opening.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Child , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools , Spain/epidemiology
5.
Frontiers in public health ; 9, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1563781

ABSTRACT

Background: During the COVID-19 pandemic, lockdown strategies have been widely used to contain SARS-CoV-2 virus spread. Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to suffering psychological effects as result of such measures. In Spain, children were enforced to a strict home lockdown for 42 days during the first wave. Here, we studied the effects of lockdown in children and adolescents through an online questionnaire. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Spain using an open online survey from July (after the lockdown resulting from the first pandemic wave) to November 2020 (second wave). We included families with children under 16 years-old living in Spain. Parents answered a survey regarding the lockdown effects on their children and were instructed to invite their children from 7 to 16 years-old (mandatory scholar age in Spain) to respond a specific set of questions. Answers were collected through an application programming interface system, and data analysis was performed using R. Results: We included 1,957 families who completed the questionnaires, covering a total of 3,347 children. The specific children's questionnaire was completed by 167 kids (7–11 years-old), and 100 adolescents (12–16 years-old). Children, in general, showed high resilience and capability to adapt to new situations. Sleeping problems were reported in more than half of the children (54%) and adolescents (59%), and these were strongly associated with less time doing sports and spending more than 5 h per day using electronic devices. Parents perceived their children to gain weight (41%), be more irritable and anxious (63%) and sadder (46%). Parents and children differed significantly when evaluating children's sleeping disturbances. Conclusions: Enforced lockdown measures and isolation can have a negative impact on children and adolescent's mental health and well-being. In future waves of the current pandemic, or in the light of potential epidemics of new emerging infections, lockdown measures targeting children, and adolescents should be reconsidered taking into account their infectiousness potential and their age-specific needs, especially to facilitate physical activity and to limit time spent on electronic devices.

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