Comparative study of hospitalized children with acute respiratory distress syndrome caused by SARS-CoV-2 and influenza virus

Authors: Xinghua LiuWei LiBo ZhangYan GuoZhao HuCao PengXiao LeiQunying LuoQiong hangWei DengJuanjuan WangJianqiao TangYunqiao Li & Jianying Chen BMC Infectious Diseases volume 21, Article number: 412 (2021) 



Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 in December 2019, more than 8 million cases have occurred worldwide as of June 16, 2020. However, it is important to distinguish COVID-19 from other respiratory infectious diseases, such as influenza. Here, we comparatively described the clinical characteristics of children with COVID-19 and pediatric patients with influenza.


In this retrospective, single-center study, we reviewed the electronic medical records of 585 pediatric patients with COVID-19 or influenza in Wuhan Children’s Hospital, China. Clinical and epidemiological characteristics, laboratory findings, and clinical outcomes were comparatively analysed.


The median ages were 6.96 years (IQR, 2–10.81) for children with confirmed COVID-19, 2.67 years (IQR, 1.03–15.25) for those with influenza A and 3.67 years (IQR, 1.62–5.54) for those with influenza B. Fever was a symptom in 84 (34.7%) COVID-19 cases, 132 (70.21%) influenza A cases and 111 (74.50%) influenza B cases. The median length of stay (LOS) was 11 (8–15) days for paediatric COVID-19 patients, 4 (3–6) days for influenza A patients and 5 (3–6) days for influenza B patients. Twenty-six (13.98%) influenza A patients and 18 (12.59%) influenza B patients presented with decreased white blood cell counts, while 13 (5.33%) COVID-19 patients presented with decreased white blood cell counts. Eight (3.28%) COVID-19 patients, 23 (12.71%) influenza A patients and 21 (14.79%) influenza B patients experienced lymphocytopenia. Acute cardiac injury occurred in 18 (7.29%) COVID-19 patients, while 37 (19.68%) influenza A and 27 (18.12%) influenza B patients had acute cardiac injury.


In this study, the illnesses of children with COVID-19 were demonstrated to be less severe than those of pediatric patients with influenza, and COVID-19 patients had milder illness and fewer complications.

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