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Cogent Medicine ; 8, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1617063


Background: Whilst the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE) currently recommends COVID-19 screening for all adult hospital admissions, current guidelines state that the screening of asymptomatic paediatric admissions is not necessarily required. However, clinically determining who requires testing can be difficult and subject to inter-carer variability. We sought to audit our acute admissions and swab results to determine rates of testing, characteristics of those being tested, and rates of positivity in a busy Irish tertiary paediatric unit. Methods: We reviewed the charts of 122 patients admitted acutely to our unit over the course of July 2021 to determine whether or not they had undergone COVID-19 screening using a nasopharyngeal PCR test and the clinical indication for testing. The clinical presentation of these admissions was analysed to try to determine positive predictive factors for COVID-19 screening and better streamline surveillance criteria. Results: A total of 122 admissions were analysed, with 74 (60.7%) having had a COVID-19 PCR test performed at the point of admission. Of these, 1 patient was found to be COVID-19 positive, giving an overall positivity rate of 0.8% amongst admissions analysed and 1.4% for admissions screened. The patient who returned a positive result was febrile at presentation but did not have any respiratory symptoms. Respiratory symptoms were documented for 45 of the 122 admissions (36.9%), and 42 of these underwent COVID-19 screening (93.3%). All swabs were negative. A total of 59 out of 122 were febrile at presentation, 55 (93.2%) of whom underwent screening. As above, 1 case tested positive. Of the afebrile patients, 19 out of 64 underwent COVID-19 screening. COVID-19 screening was performed in 12 patients who did not have a fever or respiratory symptoms at the time of presentation. In terms of non-respiratory presentations, screening was performed in 12 out of 14 (85.7%) presenting with gastritis/gastroenteritis, and 9 out of 12 (75%) presenting with a history and examination consistent with a UTI/pyelonephritis. Of 18 patients who were admitted with primarily psychiatric presentations, none had either a fever or respiratory symptoms at presentation, and none underwent COVID-19 screening. Conclusion: Our results reflect the existing data that COVID-19 appears to be less pathogenic in paediatric populations than in adult ones. Our low positivity rate compared to a high swab rate has repercussions in terms of bed allocation and isolation status. There is variation in terms of clinical criteria being viewed as sufficient to justify screening. Further study is required to determine consensus guidelines for COVID-19 surveillance in acute paediatric hospital admissions.