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Clinical Characteristics of Asymptomatic and Symptomatic Pediatric Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A Systematic Review

  • Yoon, Sojung1
  • Li, Han
  • Lee, Keum Hwa
  • Hong, Sung Hwi1,
  • Kim, Dohoon1
  • Im, Hyunjoon1
  • Rah, Woongchan1
  • Kim, Eunseol1
  • Cha, Seungyeon1
  • Yang, Jinho1
  • Kronbichler, Andreas
  • Kresse, Daniela
  • Koyanagi, Ai2, 3
  • Jacob, Louis2, 4
  • Ghayda, Ramy Abou5
  • Shin, Jae Il
  • Smith, Lee
  • 1 (J.Y.)
  • 2 (L.J.)
  • 3 ICREA, Pg. Lluis Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
  • 4 Faculty of Medicine, University of Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, 78000 Versailles, France
  • 5 Division of Urology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Published Article
Publication Date
Sep 15, 2020
DOI: 10.3390/medicina56090474
PMID: 32942705
PMCID: PMC7558873
PubMed Central


Background and objectives: Characterization of pediatric coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is necessary to control the pandemic, as asymptomatic or mildly infected children may act as carriers. To date, there are limited reports describing differences in clinical, laboratory, and radiological characteristics between asymptomatic and symptomatic infection, and between younger and older pediatric patients. The objective of this study is to compare characteristics among: (1) asymptomatic versus symptomatic and (2) less than 10 versus greater or equal to 10 years old pediatric COVID-19 patients. Materials and Methods: We searched for all terms related to pediatric COVID-19 in electronic databases (Embase, Medline, PubMed, and Web of Science) for articles from January 2020. This protocol followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. Results: Eligible study designs included case reports and series, while we excluded comments/letters, reviews, and literature not written in English. Initially, 817 articles were identified. Forty-three articles encompassing 158 confirmed pediatric COVID-19 cases were included in the final analyses. Lymphocytosis and high CRP were associated with symptomatic infection. Abnormal chest CT more accurately detected asymptomatic COVID-19 in older patients than in younger ones, but clinical characteristics were similar between older and younger patients. Conclusions: Chest CT scan findings are untrustworthy in younger children with COVID-19 as compared with clinical findings, or significant differences in findings between asymptomatic to symptomatic children. Further studies evaluating pediatric COVID-19 could contribute to potential therapeutic interventions and preventive strategies to limit spreading.

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