Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) primarily affects adults and spares children, whereas very little is known about neonates. We tried to define the clinical characteristics, risk factors, laboratory, and imagining results of neonates with community-acquired COVID-19.
This prospective multicentered cohort study included 24 neonatal intensive care units around Turkey, wherein outpatient neonates with COVID-19 were registered in an online national database. Full-term and premature neonates diagnosed with COVID-19 were included in the study, whether hospitalized or followed up as ambulatory patients. Neonates without severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) via reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction testing or whose mothers had been diagnosed with COVID-19 during pregnancy were excluded.
Thirty-seven symptomatic neonates were included. The most frequent findings were fever, hypoxemia, and cough (49%, 41%, 27%, respectively). Oxygen administration (41%) and noninvasive ventilation (16%) were frequently required; however, mechanical ventilation (3%) was rarely needed. Median hospitalization was 11 days (1–35 days). One patient with Down syndrome and congenital cardiovascular disorders died in the study period. C-reactive protein (CRP) and prothrombin time (PT) levels were found to be higher in patients who needed supplemental oxygen (0.9 [0.1–8.6] vs. 5.8 [0.3–69.2] p = 0.002, 11.9 [10.1–17.2] vs. 15.2 [11.7–18.0] p = 0.01, respectively) or who were severe/critical (1.0 [0.01–8.6] vs. 4.5 [0.1–69.2] p = 0.01, 11.7 [10.1–13.9] vs. 15.0 [11.7–18.0] p = 0.001, respectively).
Symptomatic neonates with COVID-19 had high rates of respiratory support requirements. High CRP levels or a greater PT should alert the physician to more severe disease.
There are growing evidence of clinical manifestations other than acute respiratory syndrome in severe acute respiratory syndrome associated with coronavirus 2-infected children. In our multicenter retrospective analysis, we observed among 127 severe acute respiratory syndrome associated with coronavirus 2 positive children that the presence of gastrointestinal symptoms was more frequently associated with severe and critical phenotype (P = 0.029). Moreover, having gastrointestinal symptoms was more frequently reported in patients who developed cardiac impairment.
Although first considered a benign infection, recent studies have disclosed severe and potentially lethal inflammatory manifestations of COVID-19 in children. We report the case of a 4-year-old child with a post-infectious multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19, with a Kawasaki-like shock and prominent neurologic features, for whom a cytokine storm and reduced brain-derived neurotrophic factor were well documented.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, the virus responsible of the current COVID-19 pandemic, has limited impact in the pediatric population. Children are often asymptomatic or present mild flu-like symptoms. We report the case of a COVID-19-infected adolescent presenting severe rhabdomyolysis and acute kidney injury without any fever or respiratory symptoms.