Objectives: The aim of this study is to describe the clinical manifestations along with the laboratory and radiographic findings in the local pediatric population in order to better understand the novel corona virus and its implications on the pediatric age group.
Method: The Pediatric Coronavirus in Saudi Arabia (PERSONA) study, a retrospective cohort, was conducted at Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to analyse the clinical, laboratory and radiological findings of pediatric patients confirmed to have the novel coronavirus through PCR for COVID-19 taken via nasopharyngeal swabs from March 1, 2020 to May 13, 2020.
Result: Approximately 54% (13/24) were male and 46% (11/24) were female. Patients ages ranged from 13 days to 17 years with an average of about 8.4 years and a standard deviation of 5.87 years. Leucopoenia was present in 4/22 patients, while 75% had normal white blood cell counts. Neutropenia was evident in 25% (6/22) of patients while 83.3% (20/22) of patients exhibited normal lymphocyte counts. Eosinopenia was the striking finding in 75% (18/22) of those in the study while only four (16.7%) of the COVID-19 patients showed normal eosinophil counts.
Conclusion: Eosinopenia may be a sign of less severe infection in children and therefore should be further studied. More research is needed in the region to better understand the implications of the novel corona virus and whether disease course and burden differs across nations and from adults to pediatrics.
What’s Known on this Subject: The novel corona virus first emerged in Wuhan in December 2019. This virus is spread by respiratory droplets and initially infects the respiratory system. Most studies done to present day have been on the effect of the virus in adults.
What this Study Adds: This study explores the effect of COVID-19 on children in Saudi Arabia and whether their clinical, laboratory and radiological features are similar to children in China. This study will help to better understand the disease course in this age group.
Sumayyah Ahmed Nezar Kobeisy, Saleh Al Harbi*, Raja Saleh Mehdawi, and Dina Salem Bashammakh