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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21265616


ImportanceChildren are less likely than adults to have severe outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 infection and the corresponding risk factors are not well established. ObjectiveTo identify risk factors for severe disease in symptomatic children hospitalized for PCR-positive SARS-CoV-2 infection. DesignCohort study, enrollment from February 1, 2020 until May 31, 2021 Setting15 childrens hospitals in Canada, Iran, and Costa Rica ParticipantsPatients <18 years of age hospitalized with symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, including PCR-positive multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) ExposuresVariables assessed for their association with disease severity included patient demographics, presence of comorbidities, clinical manifestations, laboratory parameters and chest imaging findings. Main Outcomes and MeasuresThe primary outcome was severe disease defined as a WHO COVID-19 clinical progression scale of [≥]6, i.e., requirement of non-invasive ventilation, high flow nasal cannula, mechanical ventilation, vasopressors, or death. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate factors associated with severe disease. ResultsWe identified 403 hospitalizations. Median age was 3.78 years (IQR 0.53-10.77). At least one comorbidity was present in 46.4% (187/403) and multiple comorbidities in 18.6% (75/403). Severe disease occurred in 33.8% (102/403). In multivariable analyses, presence of multiple comorbidities (adjusted odds ratio 2.24, 95% confidence interval 1.04-4.81), obesity (2.87, 1.19-6.93), neurological disorder (3.22, 1.37-7.56), anemia, and/or hemoglobinopathy (5.88, 1.30-26.46), shortness of breath (4.37, 2.08-9.16), bacterial and/or viral coinfections (2.26, 1.08-4.73), chest imaging compatible with COVID-19 (2.99, 1.51-5.92), neutrophilia (2.60, 1.35-5.02), and MIS-C diagnosis (3.86, 1.56-9.51) were independent risk factors for severity. Comorbidities, especially obesity (40.9% vs 3.9%, p<0.001), were more frequently present in adolescents [≥]12 years of age. Neurological disorder (3.16, 1.19-8.43) in children <12 years of age and obesity (3.21, 1.15-8.93) in adolescents were the specific comorbidities associated with disease severity in age-stratified adjusted analyses. Sensitivity analyses excluding the 81 cases with MIS-C did not substantially change the identified risk factors. Conclusions and RelevancePediatric risk factors for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection vary according to age and can potentially guide vaccination programs and treatment approaches in children. Key pointsO_ST_ABSQuestionC_ST_ABSWhat are the risk factors for severe disease in children hospitalized for PCR-positive SARS-CoV-2 infection? FindingsIn this multinational cohort study of 403 children, multiple comorbidities, obesity, neurological disorder, anemia, and/or hemoglobinopathy, shortness of breath, bacterial and/or viral coinfections, chest imaging compatible with COVID-19, neutrophilia, and MIS-C diagnosis were independent risk factors for severity. The risk profile and presence of comorbidities differed between pediatric age groups, but age itself was not associated with severe outcomes. MeaningThese results can inform targeted treatment approaches and vaccine programs that focus on patient groups with the highest risk of severe outcomes.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21257058


BACKGROUNDSARS-CoV-2 infection can lead to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). We investigated risk factors for severe disease and explored changes in severity over time. METHODSChildren up to 17 years of age admitted March 1, 2020 through March 7th, 2021 to 15 hospitals in Canada, Iran and Costa Rica with confirmed or probable MIS-C were included. Descriptive analysis and comparison by diagnostic criteria, country, and admission date was performed. Adjusted absolute average risks (AR) and risk differences (RD) were estimated for characteristics associated with ICU admission or cardiac involvement. RESULTSOf 232 cases (106 confirmed) with median age 5.8 years, 56% were male, and 22% had comorbidities. ICU admission occurred in 73 (31%) but none died. Median length of stay was 6 days (inter-quartile range 4-9). Children 6 to 12 years old had the highest AR for ICU admission (44%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 34-53). Initial ferritin greater than 500 mcg/L was associated with ICU admission. When comparing cases admitted up to October 31, 2020 to those admitted later, the AR for ICU admission increased from 25% (CI 17-33) to 37% (CI 29-46) and for cardiac involvement from 44% (CI 35-53) to 75% (CI 66-84). Risk estimates for ICU admission in the Canadian cohort demonstrated a higher risk in December 2020-March 2021 compared to March-May 2020 (RD 25%; 95%CI 7-44). INTERPRETATIONMIS-C occurred primarily in previously well children. Illness severity appeared to increase over time. Despite a high ICU admission incidence, most children were discharged within one week.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21251340


BackgroundA cohort study was conducted to describe and compare the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 infection in hospitalized children in three countries. MethodsThis was a retrospective cohort of consecutive children admitted to 15 hospitals (13 in Canada and one each in Iran and Costa Rica) up to November 16, 2020. Cases were included if they had SARS-CoV-2 infection or multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) with molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 or positive SARS-CoV-2 serology. ResultsOf 211 included cases (Canada N=95; Costa Rica N=84; Iran N=32), 103 (49%) had a presumptive diagnosis of COVID-19 or MIS-C at admission while 108 (51%) were admitted with other diagnoses. Twenty-one (10%) of 211 met criteria for MIS-C. Eighty-seven (41%) had comorbidities. Children admitted in Canada were older than those admitted to non-Canadian sites (median 4.1 versus 2.2 years; p<0.001) and less likely to require mechanical ventilation (3/95 [3%] versus 15/116 [13%]; p<0.05). Sixty-four of 211 (30%) required supplemental oxygen or intensive care unit (ICU) admission and 4 (1.9%) died. Age < 30 days, admission outside Canada, presence of at least one comorbidity and chest imaging compatible with COVID-19 predicted severe or critical COVID-19 (defined as death or need for supplemental oxygen or ICU admission). ConclusionsApproximately half of hospitalized children with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection or MIS-C were admitted with other suspected diagnoses. Disease severity was higher at non-Canadian sites. Neonates, children with comorbidities and those with chest radiographs compatible with COVID-19 were at increased risk for severe or critical COVID-19. Main pointsApproximately half of hospitalized children with laboratory confirmed MIS-C or SARS-CoV-2 infection were admitted with another primary diagnoses. The severity of disease was higher in the middle income countries (Costa Rica and Iran) than in Canada.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21251212


Data from adult studies how that COVID-19 is more severe in men than women. However, no data are available for the pediatric population. For this reason, we performed this study aiming to understand if sex influenced disease severity and outcomes in a large cohort of latin-american children with COVID-19 and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). We found that a higher percentage of male children developed MIS-C (8.9% vs 5% in females) and died (1.2% and 0.4% in females), although on multivariate adjusted analyses the only statistically significant difference was found in need of hospitalization, with females less frequently admitted compared with boys (25.6% vs 35.4%). This data are preliminary and need further independent studies to better assess the role of sex.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20243568


BackgroundTo date, there are no comprehensive data on antibiotic use in children with COVID-19 and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). MethodsMulticenter cohort study from 5 Latin American countries. Children 17 years of age or younger with microbiologically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection or fulfilling MIS-C definition were included. Antibiotic prescriptions were collected and factors associated with their use were calculated. Findings990 children were included, with a median age of 3 years (interquartile range 1-9). Of these, 69 (7.0%) were diagnosed with MIS-C. The prevalence of antibiotic use was 24.5% (n = 243). MIS-C with (OR = 45.48) or without (OR = 10.35) cardiac involvement, provision of intensive care (OR = 9.60), need for hospital care (OR = 6.87), pneumonia and/or ARDS detected through chest X-rays (OR = 4.40), administration of systemic corticosteroids (OR = 4.39), oxygen support, mechanical ventilation or CPAP (OR = 2.21), pyrexia (OR = 1.84), and female sex (OR = 1.50) were independently associated with increased use of antibiotics. On the contrary, lower respiratory tract infections without radiologic evidence of pneumonia/ARDS and not requiring respiratory support (OR = 0.34) were independently associated with decreased use of antibiotics. There was significant variation in antibiotic use across the hospitals. ConclusionsOur study showed a relatively high rate of antibiotic prescriptions in children with COVID-19 and in particular in those with severe disease or MIS-C. Importantly, we found a significant variation in reasons for prescriptions of antibiotics and type of chosen therapies, as well in hospital practices, highlighting current uncertainties and lack of guidelines for the recognition of bacterial infections in children with COVID-19. Prospective studies are needed to provide better evidence on the recognition and management of bacterial infections in COVID-19 children. What is knownCOVID-19 may worsen antibiotic prescription practices What this newCOVID-19 and MIS-C children frequently received antibiotics There was a wide variation in antibiotic prescriptions among institutions, highlighting the lack of practicle guidelines in the use of antibiotics in children with COVID-19