Transmission dynamics of children with COVID-19 in China

COVID-19: Transmission dynamics of children with COVID-19 in China. Spencer EA, Heneghan C.

Published on June 27, 2020

Reference Zhen-Dong Y, Gao-Jun Z, Run-Ming J, et al. Clinical and transmission dynamics characteristics of 406 children with coronavirus disease 2019 in China:  A review [published online ahead of print, 2020 Apr 28]. J Infect. 2020;S0163-4453(20)30241-3. doi:10.1016/j.jinf.2020.04.030
Study type
Country China
Setting Hospital
Funding Details Non Reported
Transmission mode Person to person
Exposures Household Contacts

Bottom Line

Children were more likely to have asymptomatic infections, milder conditions, faster recovery, and better prognosis than adults

Evidence Summary

Out of 406 confirmed paediatric cases, 77  (19%) were asymptomatic. Familial cluster transmission accounted for 359 cases (88%); non-familial contact transmission was found in 17 cases (4.2%); 30 cases had an unknown history (7.4%).

Among the 406 cases, 55 were tested for anal swab virus nucleic acid, and 45 (82%) cases were positive.  A 10-year-old boy with no symptoms and negative nucleic acid samples from the respiratory had positive  stool samples were positive for nucleic acids after 17 days

There were no major abnormalities in laboratory tests, and lymphocytes were not reduced as in adults.

What did they do?

This was a review of the literature on the clinical and transmission dynamics characteristics relating to paediatric cases of COVID-19 in China. 37 publications were included describing features of 406 cases. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize COVID-19 demographics, propagation dynamics, and clinical data. Categorical variables were expressed in numbers and proportions.

Study reliability

The authors note that this may not be a comprehensive summary of all data on paediatric cases.

Clearly defined setting Demographic characteristics described Follow-up length was sufficient Transmission outcomes assessed Main biases are taken into consideration
Unclear No Unclear Unclear Unclear

What else should I consider?

This review did not show characteristics of the included studies nor evaluate their quality and is as such of limited value.

About the authors

Carl Heneghan

Carl is Professor of EBM & Director of CEBM at the University of Oxford. He is also a GP and tweets @carlheneghan. He has an active interest in discovering the truth behind health research findings

Elizabeth Spencer

Dr Elizabeth Spencer; MMedSci, PhD. Epidemiologist, Nuffield Department for Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford.