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Babies with COVID-19 may have only a mild illness, mostly with fever


Posted on : 23/Jun/2020 13:28:10

A study undertaken recently has shown that infants under 90 days of age who tested positive for COVID-19 tend to be well, with little or no respiratory symptoms.

This study has been published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

It mentions that fever was often found to be the primary or only symptom in newborn babies infected with the novel coronavirus.

The lead author Leena Mithal, of this study, from the Northwestern University in the US, observes:

While there is limited data on infants with COVID-19 from the US, our findings suggest that these babies mostly have mild illness and may not be at higher risk of severe disease as initially reported from China. Most of the infants in our study had a fever, which suggests that for young infants being evaluated because of fever, COVID-19 may be an important cause, particularly in a region with widespread community activity.

At the same time, she mentioned that that evaluation for bacterial infection in young infants with fever remains important.

In this study, the researchers assessed 18 infants, none with a significant medical history as part of the study.

The observations:
  • Of the 50 percent of these infants who were admitted to the hospitals general inpatient service, none required oxygen, respiratory support, or intensive care.
  • Indications for admission were mainly clinical observation, monitoring of feeding tolerance, and ruling-out bacterial infection with empiric intravenous antibiotics in infants younger than 60 days.
  • Of the infants admitted to the hospital, six out of nine had gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms such as poor feeding, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • The upper respiratory tract symptoms of cough and congestion preceded the onset of GI symptoms. They said young infants also had notably high viral loads in their nasal specimens despite mild clinical illness.
Mithal, the study leader, observes further: It is unclear whether young infants with fever and a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 require hospital admission. The decision to admit to the hospital is based on age, need for preemptive treatment of bacterial infection, clinical assessment, feeding tolerance, and adequacy of follow-up.
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