Epidemiological characteristics of COVID-19 in pediatric patients under 10 years old: a systematic review
INTRODUCTION: In early 2020, a new coronavirus, initially reported in Wuhan, China, was diagnosed in hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, setting up a pandemic after the World Health Organization (WHO) alert. COVID-19 has been reported to be more prevalent in adults, while lower in children under 10 years old. However, the number of infections in them has increased considerably, as many do not wear masks and have no other control measures. Therefore, this group deserves more comprehensive research in terms of epidemiological characteristics. AIM: The present study aims to analyze the epidemiological characteristics of pediatric patients under 10 years old. MATERIAL AND METHODS: This is a systematic review involving pediatric patients under 10 years old in which three scientific articles were selected until March 2020 for research, indexed in the databases: PubMed, SciELO and Google Scholar. RESULTS: Epidemiological data related to pediatric patients under 10 years old presented in 3 articles were included in this study. According to the analysis of a study involving 72,314 confirmed cases of COVID-19, only 1% were children under 10 years old. In another study, only 14 of 8,866 patients were ≤ 10 years old. It was also found that, of the 9 children under 1 year old infected with SARS-CoV-2, 78% were girls. In the comparison between the group of pediatric and adult patients regarding the incubation period, it was analyzed that in children it was ± 6.5 days, a longer time than in adults (± 5.4 days). Studies have reported that the overall incidence of the disease was higher in men than in women (0.31 / 100,000 vs 0.27 / 100,000). According to another study, the transmission of COVID-19 occurs through respiratory droplets, close contact, aerosols and through the ocular conjunctiva, digestive endoscopy centers, fever clinics and others issued emergency plans and relevant management measures during the epidemic period, aimed at disinfecting and protecting patients. CONCLUSION: The systematic review was useful to show that, although pediatric patients are more exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the incidence is demonstrably lower. In addition, there is weak scientific evidence that girls under 1 year old are more prone to infection than boys, and further studies are needed. From another point of view, the incubation time is longer in children under 10 years old than in adults.
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