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Epidemiology of paediatric Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and implications for the control of coronavirus virus disease 2019

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  • Epidemiology of paediatric Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and implications for the control of coronavirus virus disease 2019

    Source: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jpc.15014

    Epidemiology of paediatric Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus and implications for the control of coronavirus virus disease 2019
    Chandini R MacIntyre; Xin Chen; Dillon C Adam; Abrar A Chughtai
    First published: 30 July 2020
    https://doi.org/10.1111/jpc.15014

    Aim

    To compare the clinical features of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV) infection between paediatric and adult cases.
    Methods

    Using multiple public data sources, we created an enhanced open‐source surveillance dataset of all MERS‐CoV cases between 20 September 2012 and 31 December 2018 in Saudi Arabia including available risk factor data.
    Results

    Of the 1791 cases of MERS‐CoV identified, 30 cases (1.7%) were aged under 18 years and 1725 cases (96.3%) were aged 18 years and over. Three paediatric cases were fatal, aged 0, 2 and 15 years. The odds of asymptomatic MERS‐CoV infection among cases under 18 years (n = 10/23; 44%) was significantly higher (odds ratio (OR) = 4.98; 95% confidence interval (CI): 2.15–11.51; P = 0.001) compared to adults (n = 199/1487; 13%). The odds of hospitalisation were significantly lower (OR = 0.17; 95% CI: 0.08–0.39; P < 0.001) among cases under 18 years (n = 12/24; 50%) compared to adults (n = 1231/1443; 85%). Children were more likely to have a known source of exposure compared to adults (OR = 2.68; 95% CI: 1.29–5.56; P = 0.008).

    Conclusions

    Clinically severe illness is less common in children, although death can occur, and the proportion of paediatric cases (1.7%) is similar to that reported for COVID‐19. Age‐specific differences in the clinical presentation of MERS‐CoV cases could have implications for transmission for other betacoronaviruses including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2). Children may be at risk within the household with an infected adult. More studies are required on the role of children in transmission of betacoronaviruses.
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