Babies under the age of 90 days who tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, are generally well, with little or no respiratory manifestations, according to a new study.
Researchers from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago found that infants mostly have mild illness and are unlikely to have a severe infection.
The study was published in The Journal of Pediatrics.
Lead study author Dr. Leena Mithal said, “While there is limited data on infants with COVID-19 from the United States, 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 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,” she added. “However, evaluation for bacterial infection in young infants with fever remains important.”
The researchers examined 18 infants who had no significant medical history. Nearly 50 percent of these babies who were hospitalized for inpatient service did not require oxygen, respiratory support, or intensive care, while six out of nine hospitalized patients had gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms, such as poor feeding, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The authors noted that upper respiratory tract symptoms, such as cough and chest congestion, preceded the onset of GI symptoms.
Dr. Mithal explained, “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.”
“There may be opportunities to utilize rapid SARS-CoV-2 testing to determine disposition of clinically well infants with fever,” she added.
The study also found that more than 40 percent of COVID-19 cases were among babies of Latinx ethnicity.
“Although we expected that there would be many infants of Latinx ethnicity with COVID-19, there may be additional factors contributing to the disproportionate majority of Latinx cases we observed in this age group,” Dr. Mithal said.
“Access to sick-visit care in some primary care pediatric offices has been limited, with practices referring symptomatic children to the emergency department,” she added. “Limited access to telemedicine care also may be a factor.”
“Finally, there may be a greater likelihood of exposure with extended family living in the home or family members working outside the home during this pandemic.” The article originally appeared on Medical Xpress.