Detection of Covid-19 in Children in Early January 2020 in Wuhan, China
TO THE EDITOR:
A small number of cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have been described in children,1,2 and our understanding of the spectrum of illness is limited.3 We conducted a retrospective analysis involving hospitalized children in Wuhan, China.
From January 7 to January 15, 2020, a total of 366 hospitalized children (≤16 years of age) were enrolled in a retrospective study of respiratory infections at three branches of Tongji Hospital, which are located 14 km to 34 km from one another in central Wuhan (Fig. S1 in the Supplementary Appendix, available with the full text of this letter at NEJM.org). The study was approved by the ethics committee of Tongji Hospital. Among the 366 children, the most frequently detected pathogens were influenza A virus (in 23 patients [6.3%]) and influenza B virus (in 20 [5.5%]). SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, was detected in 6 patients (1.6%). Informed consent was obtained from the parents or guardians of the patients with Covid-19 for the publication of their clinical data. The dates of illness onset in the six patients with Covid-19 were between January 2 and January 8, 2020, and the patients were hospitalized between January 7 and January 13 (Fig. S2). Details of the study methods are provided in the Supplementary Appendix.
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