Hogmanay 2019 WHO were informed of cluster of cases of Pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China.

Novel coronavirus identified, named SARS-CoV-2. COVID19 is associated disease. Similar viruses responsible for SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and MERS (Middle East respiratory syndrome).

By end of February 2020, more than 70 000 cases reported across China, 2500 fatalities. Pandemic was declared by WHO on 11th March.

Cruise ships including the Diamond Princess in Japan (over 700 cases) and the Zaandaam were particularly hard hit.

Lockdown declared in UK on 23rd March.

Binds to ACE2 – potentially explaining particular susceptibility among people with hypertension and Africans (nearly double rate of whites) and Asians (although Indian rates lower than Bangladeshi/Pakistani). Rates among Chinese females actually lower than among Whites! [uk data]

Risk of “critical illness “ from COVID-19 RR 1.44 if overweight, 1.97 if obese. UK OpenSAFELY analysis. Death 1.27 if BMI 30-39, 2.27 if BMI>40. ACE-2 higher in obese. Plus different immune responses and challenges to ventilate.

London has double the age standardised mortality of any other part of the UK (Birmingham next), as high as 144 per 100 000 in Newham. Glasgow’s rate is about 80 [UK data]

Bronx worse hit than Manhattan, despite similar population density. Higher attack and death rates among Afro-Americans. Role for air pollution too?

Plot of mortality rates by gender/race

Some reports of acute neurological presentations in adults, including stroke and Guillain Barre syndrome.

Transmission potential of asymptomatic cases (common on cruise ships) yet to be determined.

See Treatment.

COVID in Children

Probably more severe than SARS but still children tend to be less severely affected than adults. Cross protection from immunity from other coronaviruses? Differences in ACE2? Some asymptomatic.

Wheeze uncommon. Asthma does not appear to increase risk (in China).

X-ray more often negative; CT more sensitive.

Can present with GI symptoms.

One baby born to an infected mother developed severe complications.

Neutrophil and LDH counts go up, lymphocytes go down.

A small series of children with COVID-19 has shown a greater prevalence of peripheral halo (halo-sign) lung consolidations on CT.

The criteria for the definition of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) and septic shock, the guidelines for the management of sepsis and septic shock and the use of non-invasive ventilation in children are different from those of adults.

Children desaturate more easily during intubation; therefore, it is important to pre-oxygenate with 100% O2 with a mask with a reservoir before intubating.

A rectal swab may be useful in children to determine the timing of the termination of quarantine.

[Chengdu and Italian experience, from PIPSQC]

WHO supports use of dexamethasone in patients with acute respiratory presentation and hypoxia (sats<90%), tachypnoea, or severe respiratory distress. RECOVERY trial continues to study dexamethasone in neonates, plus roles for azithromycin and toculizimab.

Remdesivir is licensed in hospitalised patients in oxygen, over 12 years and over 40kg and can be considered in this age group for patients with high-risk comorbidity,

Paediatric multi inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID19 (PIMS-TS)

Neutrophilia (most), lymphopenia, single or multiorgan dysfunction.  Possibly Kawasaki criteria. Exclude other infectious cause including shock syndromes and myocarditis (but don’t delay seeking advice).

Abnormal fibrinogen, d-dimer, ferritin, hypoalbuminaemia. Other features eg coagulopathy variable.

WHO refer to PIMS-TS as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), case definition is similar but requires at least 3 days of fever and either evidence of COVID-19 on PCR or serology or a likely contact with COVID-19.

Length of PICU stay generally short, some require ECMO, majority survive.

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