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EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335285


Background Early in the pandemic, COVID-19 was found to infect adults at higher rates than children, leaving limited data on disease presentation in children. Further understanding of the epidemiology of COVID-19 symptoms among children is needed. Our aim was to explore how symptoms vary between children testing positive for COVID-19 infection versus children testing negative. Methods Data analysis of symptom prevalence among pediatric patients presenting to emergency departments (ED) in the Johns Hopkins Health System (JHHS) with concern for COVID-19 who subsequently received COVID-19 testing. Inclusion criteria included patients 0-17 years-of-age, ED evaluation between March 15th, 2020 - May 11th, 2020, and those who were ordered for COVID-19 testing. Chart review was performed to document symptoms using ED provider notes. Comparisons were made using chi-squared t-tests and Student’s t-tests. Results Fever (62.6%) and cough (47.9%) were the most prevalent symptoms among children with suspected COVID-19 infection. Compared to children with a negative COVID-19 test, children who tested positive had higher prevalence of myalgia (21.7% vs 6.0%) and loss of taste/smell (15.2% vs 0.9%). Over half of the children who tested positive for COVID-19 had public insurance (52.2%) and 58.7% of the positive tests occurred among children with Hispanic ethnicity. Conclusions Myalgia and loss of taste/smell were found to be significantly more prevalent among COVID-19 positive children compared to children testing negative. Additionally, children with public insurance and those with Hispanic ethnicity were more likely to test positive, emphasizing the importance of social factors in the screening and decision-making process.