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1.
Lancet Child Adolesc Health ; 2022 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867954

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Respiratory viruses are increasingly detected in children with community-acquired pneumonia but prevalence estimates vary substantially. We aimed to systematically review and pool estimates for 22 viruses commonly associated with community-acquired pneumonia. METHODS: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine the prevalence of each of the common respiratory viruses detected by any diagnostic method in children aged up to 18 years with community-acquired pneumonia. We searched MEDLINE, PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Scopus databases with no language restrictions for relevant published articles and reports published between Jan 1, 1995, and Dec 31, 2019, restricting the review to pre-COVID-19 pandemic years. Three independent reviewers screened articles and extracted data using a predefined protocol. We calculated the pooled prevalence for each virus in childhood pneumonia using DerSimonian-Laird random-effects models. We assessed bias using the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale. The review protocol was registered in PROSPERO (CRD42016034047). FINDINGS: We identified 186 eligible articles that represented 152 209 children up to age 18 years with community-acquired pneumonia. One or more respiratory viruses were detected in 55·0% (95% CI 50·4-59·7) of paediatric patients with a diagnosis of community-acquired pneumonia; heterogeneity was high (I2=99·4%). Respiratory syncytial virus (22·7%, 20·9-24·5) and rhinovirus (22·1%, 19·5-24·7) were the most commonly detected causes of paediatric pneumonia globally, with other viruses detected in 1-9% of cases. There was non-significant variation in prevalence by the country's national income, under-5 mortality rate, or WHO region. INTERPRETATION: Respiratory viruses are frequently detected in community-acquired pneumonia among children of all ages and geographical regions, with non-significant variation by country's national income or region. Further strategies to limit antibiotic use in children with viral pneumonia and develop treatment and prevention approaches targeting common respiratory viruses are expected to have a substantial effect on the residual burden of childhood pneumonia. FUNDING: None.

2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2884, 2022 May 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1860372

ABSTRACT

Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is an important cause of acute respiratory infection with the most severe disease in the young and elderly. Non-pharmaceutical interventions and travel restrictions for controlling COVID-19 have impacted the circulation of most respiratory viruses including RSV globally, particularly in Australia, where during 2020 the normal winter epidemics were notably absent. However, in late 2020, unprecedented widespread RSV outbreaks occurred, beginning in spring, and extending into summer across two widely separated regions of the Australian continent, New South Wales (NSW) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in the east, and Western Australia. Through genomic sequencing we reveal a major reduction in RSV genetic diversity following COVID-19 emergence with two genetically distinct RSV-A clades circulating cryptically, likely localised for several months prior to an epidemic surge in cases upon relaxation of COVID-19 control measures. The NSW/ACT clade subsequently spread to the neighbouring state of Victoria and to cause extensive outbreaks and hospitalisations in early 2021. These findings highlight the need for continued surveillance and sequencing of RSV and other respiratory viruses during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, as mitigation measures may disrupt seasonal patterns, causing larger or more severe outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Infant , Pandemics/prevention & control , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/prevention & control , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human/genetics , Seasons , Victoria
3.
Emerg Med Australas ; 2022 May 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1831889

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To describe and explore the relationship between weather and the unusual 2020 bronchiolitis season in Western Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: Correlation of meteorological data and presentations of infants with bronchiolitis through the ED of Perth Children's Hospital. RESULTS: The 2020 bronchiolitis epidemic showed a reversal of the usual seasonal pattern. There were no weather events to account for this phenomenon. CONCLUSIONS: The bronchiolitis outbreak showed no relationship to local weather patterns. State-mandated COVID-19 public health measures appear as the likely rationale.

4.
J Gen Virol ; 103(4)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1831590

ABSTRACT

Encephalitis is most often caused by a variety of infectious agents identified through diagnostic tests utilizing cerebrospinal fluid. We investigated the clinical characteristics and potential aetiological agents of unexplained encephalitis through metagenomic sequencing of residual clinical samples from multiple tissue types and independent clinical review. Forty-three specimens were collected from 18 encephalitis cases with no cause identified by the Australian Childhood Encephalitis study. Samples were subjected to total RNA sequencing ('metatranscriptomics') to determine the presence and abundance of potential pathogens, and to describe the possible aetiologies of unexplained encephalitis. Using this protocol, we identified five RNA and two DNA viruses associated with human infection from both non-sterile and sterile sites, which were confirmed by PCR. These comprised two human rhinoviruses, two human seasonal coronaviruses, two polyomaviruses and one picobirnavirus. Human rhinovirus and seasonal coronaviruses may be responsible for five of the encephalitis cases. Immune-mediated encephalitis was considered likely in six cases and metatranscriptomics did not identify a possible pathogen in these cases. The aetiology remained unknown in nine cases. Our study emphasizes the importance of respiratory viruses in the aetiology of unexplained child encephalitis and suggests that non-central-nervous-system sampling in encephalitis clinical guidelines and protocols could improve the diagnostic yield.


Subject(s)
Encephalitis , Viruses , Australia , Child , Encephalitis/diagnosis , Encephalitis/etiology , Humans , Metagenomics , Polymerase Chain Reaction
5.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 462022 Mar 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1791296

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Influenza is a common cause of acute respiratory infection, and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an acute respiratory infection that emerged as a pandemic worldwide before the start of the 2020 Australian influenza season. This report summarises the epidemiology of hospitalisations with laboratory-confirmed influenza and COVID-19 during the 2020 influenza season in a sentinel surveillance system. Methods: The Influenza Complications Alert Network (FluCAN) is a sentinel hospital-based surveillance program that operates at sites in all jurisdictions in Australia. Influenza and COVID-19 cases were defined as patients hospitalised at sentinel hospitals and confirmed by nucleic acid detection. Results: There were 448 patients with COVID-19 admitted between 16 March and 31 December 2020, and only 20 patients with influenza admitted between 1 April and 30 November 2020, to one of 22 FluCAN hospitals. Of the COVID-19 cases, 173 (39%) were > 65 years of age, 36 (8%) were children (< 16 years), 6 (1%) were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, 4 (1%) were pregnant and 289 (65%) had chronic comorbidities. COVID-19 hospital admissions peaked between weeks 13 and 15 (first wave) nationally, and again between weeks 31 and 35 (Victoria), with most admissions represented by those above 40 years of age. Discussion: There was an unusually low number of hospital admissions with laboratory-confirmed influenza in this season, compared to recent seasons. This is likely to be due to effective public health interventions and international border closures as a result of a rise in COVID-19 respiratory infections and associated hospitalisations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Female , Hospitalization , Hospitals , Humans , Influenza, Human/complications , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Pregnancy , Victoria
8.
Med J Aust ; 216(6): 312-319, 2022 04 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1737288

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation and New Zealand Ministry of Health recommend all children aged ≥ 5 years receive either of the two mRNA COVID-19 vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer), available in both Australia and New Zealand, or Spikevax (Moderna), available in Australia only. Both vaccines are efficacious and safe in the general population, including children. Children and adolescents undergoing treatment for cancer and immunosuppressive therapy for non-malignant haematological conditions are particularly vulnerable, with an increased risk of severe or fatal COVID-19. There remains a paucity of data regarding the immune response to COVID-19 vaccines in immunosuppressed paediatric populations, with data suggestive of reduced immunogenicity of the vaccine in immunocompromised adults. RECOMMENDATIONS: Considering the safety profile of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and the increased risk of severe COVID-19 in immunocompromised children and adolescents, COVID-19 vaccination is strongly recommended for this at-risk population. We provide a number of recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccination in this population where immunosuppressive, chemotherapeutic and/or targeted biological agents are used. These include the timing of vaccination in patients undergoing active treatment, management of specific situations where vaccination is contraindicated or recommended under special precautions, and additional vaccination recommendations for severely immunocompromised patients. Finally, we stress the importance of upcoming clinical trials to identify the safest and most efficacious vaccination regimen for this population. CHANGES IN MANAGEMENT AS A RESULT OF THIS STATEMENT: This consensus statement provides recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination in children and adolescents aged ≥ 5 years with cancer and immunocompromising non-malignant haematological conditions, based on evidence, national and international guidelines and expert opinion. ENDORSED BY: The Australian and New Zealand Children's Haematology/Oncology Group.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hematology , Neoplasms , Adolescent , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Neoplasms/therapy , New Zealand/epidemiology , Vaccination
9.
JMIR Form Res ; 6(1): e29889, 2022 Jan 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662505

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Acute respiratory infection (ARI) in childhood is common, but more knowledge on the burden and natural history of ARI in the community is required. A better understanding of ARI risk factors, treatment, and outcomes will help support parents to manage their sick child at home. Digital health tools are becoming more widely adopted in clinical care and research and may assist in understanding and managing common pediatric diseases, including ARI, in hospitals and in the community. We integrated 2 digital tools-a web-based discharge communication system and the REDCap (Research Electronic Data Capture) platform-into the Pragmatic Adaptive Trial for Acute Respiratory Infection in Children to enhance parent and physician engagement around ARI discharge communication and our patient registry. OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to determine the efficacy and usability of digital tools integrated into a pediatric patient registry for ARI. METHODS: Semistructured interviews and software interface usability testing were conducted with 11 parents and 8 emergency department physicians working at a tertiary pediatric hospital and research center in Perth, Western Australia, in 2019. Questions focused on experiences of discharge communication and clinical trial engagement. Responses were analyzed using the qualitative Framework Method. Participants were directly observed using digital interfaces as they attempted predetermined tasks that were then classified as success, failure, software failure, or not observed. Participants rated the interfaces using the System Usability Scale (SUS). RESULTS: Most parents (9/11, 82%) indicated that they usually received verbal discharge advice, with some (5/11, 45%) recalling receiving preprinted resources from their physician. Most (8/11, 73%) would also like to receive discharge advice electronically. Most of the physicians (7/8, 88%) described their usual practice as verbal discharge instructions, with some (3/8, 38%) reporting time pressures associated with providing discharge instructions. The digital technology option was preferred for engaging in research by most parents (8/11, 73%). For the discharge communication digital tool, parents gave a mean SUS score of 94/100 (SD 4.3; A grade) for the mobile interface and physicians gave a mean usability score of 93/100 (SD 4.7; A grade) for the desktop interface. For the research data management tool (REDCap), parents gave a mean usability score of 78/100 (SD 11.0; C grade) for the mobile interface. CONCLUSIONS: Semistructured interviews allowed us to better understand parent and physician experiences of discharge communication and clinical research engagement. Software interface usability testing methods and use of the SUS helped us gauge the efficacy of our digital tools with both parent and physician users. This study demonstrates the feasibility of combining qualitative research methods with software industry interface usability testing methods to help determine the efficacy of digital tools in a pediatric clinical research setting.

10.
J Clin Epidemiol ; 143: 1-10, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587328

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: COVID-19-associated non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) have disrupted respiratory viral transmission. We quantified the changes in pediatric hospital admissions in 2020 from five different NPI phases in Western Australia for acute lower respiratory infections (ALRI) in children in the context of all-cause admissions. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We assessed anonymised hospitalization data from Perth Children's Hospital (Jan 2015-Dec 2020) for all-cause admissions, ALRI, febrile illnesses and trauma (negative control) in those <17 years. We evaluated absolute changes in admissions and the weekly change estimated from interrupted time-series models. RESULTS: The absolute number of admissions was comparable in 2020 (15,678) vs. 2015 to 2019 average (15,310). Following the introduction of strict NPIs, all-cause admissions declined by 35%, recovered to pre-pandemic levels, then increased by 24% following NPI cessation. ALRI admissions in children <5 years initially declined by 89%, which was sustained throughout the gradual easing of NPI until an increase of 579% (997% in <3 months) following the final easing of NPI. Admissions for trauma showed minimal changes in 2020 compared to preceding years. CONCLUSION: COVID-19-associated NPI had significant unintended consequences in health service utilization, especially for ALRI and infants <3 months, prompting the need to understand viral transmission dynamics in young children.

11.
Vaccine ; 40(4): 594-600, 2022 01 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586279

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 8th April 2021, the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) made the Pfizer-BioNtech (Comirnaty) vaccine the "preferred" vaccine for adults in Australia aged < 50 years due to a risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS) following AstraZeneca vaccination. We sought to understand whether this impacted COVID-19 vaccine intentions. METHOD: We undertook qualitative interviews from February - April 2021 before and after the program change with 28 adults in Perth, Western Australia. Using our COVID-19 vaccine intentions model, we assessed changes in participants' COVID-19 vaccine intention before and after the program change. Participants were classified as 1) 'acceptors': no concerns about COVID-19 vaccine safety, efficacy, access and would accept whatever vaccine is offered, 2) 'cautious acceptors': some concerns and would prefer a particular vaccine brand but would accept whatever is offered, 3) 'Wait awhile': for more data, easier access, for another vaccine brand, a greater perceived COVID-19 threat or until mandatory, or 4) 'refuser': no intention to vaccinate due to concerns about safety and/or efficacy. RESULTS: Before the change, 7/18 of those aged < 50 years were 'acceptors,' 10/18 were 'cautious acceptors' and 1/18 was 'wait awhile.' Overall, 14/18 participants had the same COVID-19 vaccine intention after the change; 4/18 became more concerned. For those aged ≥ 50 years and before the change, 5/10 were 'acceptors' and 5/10 were 'cautious acceptors.' After the change, 8/10 still had the same COVID-19 vaccine intention; 2/10 became more cautious. The major concern before the program change was COVID-19 vaccines having different vaccine efficacy; the concern pivoted to safety. CONCLUSION: The majority of participants were 'cautious acceptors' who intended on being vaccinated; many had this intention before and after the program change. The Australian government, health care providers and media need to better address COVID-19 vaccine concerns to assist those with COVID-19 vaccine intentions receive a vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Adult , Australia , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Intention , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
12.
BMJ Open ; 11(11): e054510, 2021 11 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1507057

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To present Australia-wide data on paediatric COVID-19 and multisystem inflammatory syndromes to inform health service provision and vaccination prioritisation. DESIGN: Prospective, multicentre cohort study. SETTING: Eight tertiary paediatric hospitals across six Australian states and territories in an established research surveillance network-Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease (PAEDS). PARTICIPANTS: All children aged <19 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection including COVID-19, Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome Temporally Associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) and Kawasaki-like disease TS infection (KD-TS) treated at a PAEDS site from 24 March 2020 to 31 December 2020. INTERVENTION: Laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. MAIN OUTCOME: Incidence of severe disease among children with COVID-19, PIMS-TS and KD-TS. We also compared KD epidemiology before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: Among 386 children with SARS-CoV-2 infection, 381 (98.7%) had COVID-19 (median 6.3 years (IQR 2.1-12.8),53.3% male) and 5 (1.3%) had multisystem inflammatory syndromes (PIMS-TS, n=4; KD-TS, n=1) (median 7.9 years (IQR 7.8-9.8)). Most children with COVID-19 (n=278; 73%) were Australian-born from jurisdictions with highest community transmission. Comorbidities were present in 72 (18.9%); cardiac and respiratory comorbidities were most common (n=32/72;44%). 37 (9.7%) children with COVID-19 were hospitalised, and two (0.5%) required intensive care. Postinfective inflammatory syndromes (PIMS-TS/KD-TS) were uncommon (n=5; 1.3%), all were hospitalised and three (3/5; 60%) required intensive care management. All children recovered and there were no deaths. KD incidence remained stable during the pandemic compared with prepandemic. CONCLUSIONS: Most children with COVID-19 had mild disease. Severe disease was less frequent than reported in high prevalence settings. Preventative strategies, such as vaccination, including children and adolescents, could reduce both the acute and postinfective manifestations of the disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/complications , Child , Cohort Studies , Female , Hospitals, Pediatric , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
15.
BMJ Open ; 11(6): e049356, 2021 06 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1289891

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Ahead of the implementation of a COVID-19 vaccination programme, the interdisciplinary Coronavax research team developed a multicomponent mixed methods project to support successful roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in Western Australia. This project seeks to analyse community attitudes about COVID-19 vaccination, vaccine access and information needs. We also study how government incorporates research findings into the vaccination programme. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The Coronavax protocol employs an analytical social media study, and a qualitative study using in-depth interviews with purposively selected community groups. Participant groups currently include healthcare workers, aged care workers, first responders, adults aged 65+ years, adults aged 30-64 years, young adults aged 18-29 years, education workers, parents/guardians of infants and young children (<5 years), parents/guardians of children aged 5-18 years with comorbidities and parents/guardians who are hesitant about routine childhood vaccines. The project also includes two studies that track how Australian state and Commonwealth (federal) governments use the study findings. These are functional dialogues (translation and discussion exercises that are recorded and analysed) and evidence mapping of networks within government (which track how study findings are used). ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethics approval has been granted by the Child and Adolescent Health Service Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) and the University of Western Australia HREC. Study findings will be disseminated by a series of journal articles, reports to funders and stakeholders, and invited and peer-reviewed presentations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adolescent , Australia , Child , Child, Preschool , Government , Humans , Infant , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Western Australia , Young Adult
16.
Clin Infect Dis ; 72(12): 2199-2202, 2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269548

ABSTRACT

Public health measures targeting coronavirus disease 2019 have potential to impact transmission of other respiratory viruses. We found 98.0% and 99.4% reductions in respiratory syncytial virus and influenza detections, respectively, in Western Australian children through winter 2020 despite schools reopening. Border closures have likely been important in limiting external introductions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections , Australia/epidemiology , Child , Humans , Infant , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Public Health , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Euro Surveill ; 25(25)2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-621605

ABSTRACT

Sentinel surveillance of acute hospitalisations in response to infectious disease emergencies such as the 2009 influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 pandemic is well described, but recognition of its potential to supplement routine public health surveillance and provide scalability for emergency responses has been limited. We summarise the achievements of two national paediatric hospital surveillance networks relevant to vaccine programmes and emerging infectious diseases in Canada (Canadian Immunization Monitoring Program Active; IMPACT from 1991) and Australia (Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance; PAEDS from 2007) and discuss opportunities and challenges in applying their model to other contexts. Both networks were established to enhance capacity to measure vaccine preventable disease burden, vaccine programme impact, and safety, with their scope occasionally being increased with emerging infectious diseases' surveillance. Their active surveillance has increased data accuracy and utility for syndromic conditions (e.g. encephalitis), pathogen-specific diseases (e.g. pertussis, rotavirus, influenza), and adverse events following immunisation (e.g. febrile seizure), enabled correlation of biological specimens with clinical context and supported responses to emerging infections (e.g. pandemic influenza, parechovirus, COVID-19). The demonstrated long-term value of continuous, rather than incident-related, operation of these networks in strengthening routine surveillance, bridging research gaps, and providing scalable public health response, supports their applicability to other countries.


Subject(s)
Hospitals, Pediatric/statistics & numerical data , Immunization Programs/standards , Patient Admission/statistics & numerical data , Population Surveillance/methods , Vaccination/adverse effects , Vaccines/administration & dosage , Australia/epidemiology , Canada/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Data Accuracy , Health Policy , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , National Health Programs/standards , Public Health Surveillance , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data
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