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Infants With COVID-19 May Present With GI Symptoms

FRIDAY, Dec. 18, 2020 -- Among 10 infants hospitalized with COVID-19, most had mild disease and most commonly presented with gastrointestinal symptoms, according to a research letter published online Dec. 14 in JAMA Network Open.

Luc Panetta, M.D., from Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montreal, and colleagues report manifestations and severity of disease among infants diagnosed with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and treated at a single institution (Feb. 14 to May 31, 2020).

The researchers found that 2 percent of 1,165 infants tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection were positive. Nearly one-third of those positive (eight of 25) required hospitalization, plus two additional infants transferred to the institution after diagnosis. The most common presenting symptoms were gastrointestinal tract symptoms (85 percent), fever (81 percent), and upper respiratory tract symptoms (59 percent). Clinical manifestation was similar between older and younger infants. However, there was a higher incidence of comorbid conditions among older infants versus younger infants (six versus one patient), including lower birth weight and younger gestational age. Disease was mild in most hospitalized infants (seven of 10), and none required supplemental oxygen. Concurrent urinary tract infections caused by Escherichia coli were seen in five infants.

"Our findings are consistent with previous series describing infants who present with mainly fever, mild disease, and no need for mechanical ventilation or intensive care treatment," the authors write.

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Posted: December 2020

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