SARS-CoV-2 Infection in a Portuguese Tertiary Pediatric Hospital




Introduction: Being a recent disease, there are still unknown facts about coronavirus disease 2019, especially in children. Therefore, reports from centers worldwide are important to better understand this condition. This study aimed to describe all severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 positive cases admitted to a Portuguese tertiary pediatric hospital. Methods: All patients with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection confirmed by polymerase chain reaction test until January 31st, 2021, were included in this study. A descriptive analysis was conducted on demographic, epidemiological, clinical, and laboratorial characteristics, as well as patient management.

Results: In total, 331 (3.8% of the total tested) patients were included in this study, 51.1% of whom were male, and the median age was 6 years (range 7 days - 17 years), being the 1-5 years age group the more prevalent. Family / cohabitant contact was the main form of exposure to disease. Symptoms included fever (50.2%), cough (45%) and gastrointestinal symptoms (38.7%) (diarrhea in 13%). There were 10 patients with anosmia and eight with ageusia (all older than 5 years) and 14.8% of the children were asymptomatic. Excluding asymptomatic patients, hospitalization occurred in 17 (6.0%) cases, four of whom were adolescents (three obese, one with progressive cancer) and needed oxygen supplementation, and one patient was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Discussion: In our center, pediatric infection rate was low, frequently with a mild clinical presentation and after a contact with an infected cohabitant / family member. Asymptomatic patients corresponded to 14.8% of the cases. Of the four patients with more severe disease, all were adolescents and three were obese. The outcome was overall good.


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