Despite low absolute numbers, infants may be at risk for COVID-19

  • Wei M & al.
  • JAMA
  • 14 Feb 2020

  • curated by Liz Scherer
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • Although case numbers in the youngest age group are small, infants are still at risk for developing 2019-novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.
  • 100% of cases have been linked to family clustering.

Why this matters

  • Special protective measures are important, but face masks are not recommended for infants.
  • Infants with infected family members should be monitored and evaluated, these authors say.
  • Experts advise that adult caretakers should wear masks, wash hands before and after close contact with infants, and sterilize all toys/tableware on a regular basis.

Key results

  • 9 hospitalized infants (ages, 1-11 months; 7 females).
  • Clinical features: 4 had fever, 2 mild upper respiratory tract symptoms, 1 no symptoms (but tested COVID-19-positive because of exposure to infected family members), 2 with no information.
  • Time between admission and diagnosis: 1-3 days.
  • 9/9 infants had at least 1 infected family member; all infections occurred postexposure.
  • 7/9 infants were living in Wuhan or had family member who had traveled there, 1 had no direct Wuhan linkage, and 1 no information.
  • None required intensive care or mechanical ventilation or had severe complications. 

Study design

  • Retrospective case analysis of demographic, epidemiological, clinical features in Chinese infants hospitalized with COVID-19 from December 8, 2019 to February 6, 2020.
  • Funding: National Natural Science Foundation.

Limitations

  • Small sample size.
  • Limited to hospitalized, symptomatic infants. 
  • Underreporting likely.