Assessment of Clinical and Virological Characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Children Aged 0 to 4 Years and Their Household Members

Related People: Ruth A. Karron, MD
Related Research: SEARCh Study
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Question: Do community-acquired SARS-CoV-2 infections differ in adults and children aged 0 to 4 years with respect to incidence, symptoms, and detected viral load?

Findings: In this cohort study of 690 participants from 175 households in Maryland conducted from November 2020 to October 2021, 54 incident SARS-CoV-2 infections were detected in 8.6% of children aged 0 to 4 years, 11.0% of children aged 5 to 17 years, and 6.3% of adults. Children were more frequently asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic than adults; highest detected viral loads correlated with the number of symptoms in adults but not in young children.

Meaning: This study’s findings suggest that symptomatic screening for SARSCoV-2 infection may be insufficient to control outbreaks in settings in which young children congregate.

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