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AIMS Public Health ; 7(2): 258-273, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1792331


BACKGROUND: In December 2019, the infection caused by 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) led to an outbreak in Wuhan, situated in the Hubei Province of China. Following this, there has been a rapid increase in the number of cases. On 12th March 2020, there were over 100,000 confirmed cases and almost 4,300 deaths worldwide. The clinical profile of children with COVID-19 is unknown due to the few number of cases reported. Currently, available data suggest they may have a milder form of illness. METHODS: A review of the literature published from June 2019 to March 2020 was undertaken to evaluate the clinical presentation, management and outcomes of COVID-19 in in children. Data sources included EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane library, ISI Web of Knowledge and references within identified articles. RESULTS: We identified 303 potential studies, and 295 were excluded for reasons including duplicates, experimental studies and case reports. Eight studies were eligible for inclusion, including a total of 820 paediatric cases of COVID-19. Asymptomatic cases represented 14.3% (n = 117) of the total number of cases identified, and thus the remaining 85.7% (n = 703) experienced symptoms. Fever was the commonest symptom in 53.9% (n = 48) of cases, followed by cough in 39.3% (n = 35) of cases, and rhinorrhoea or pharyngeal congestion in 13.5% (n = 12) of cases. Diarrhoea and sore throats were less common symptoms, 7.9% (n = 7) and 9.0% (n = 8) respectively. Other symptoms, including fatigue, headache and dizziness were rare. CONCLUSION: Children are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and are more likely to run a milder cause of illness following this infection compared to adults. This outbreak only started 3 months ago, therefore, further population wide studies are needed to validate these findings.