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BMJ Open ; 11(9): e051836, 2021 09 21.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34548362


OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to capture key epidemiological data on SARS-CoV-2 infection in Nicaraguan children (≤18 years) seeking medical care, between 6 October and 16 November 2020. DESIGN: In this cross-sectional study, 418 children were recruited: 319 with symptoms characteristic of COVID-19 and 99 with no symptoms of illness. Children were tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA using loop-mediated isothermal amplification. A questionnaire was employed to identify symptoms, risk factors, comorbidities and COVID-19 prevention measures. SETTING: Research was carried out in four hospitals and two clinics in Managua, Nicaragua, where schools and businesses remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. PARTICIPANTS: Children were enrolled into a possible COVID-19 group if presenting with clinical symptoms. A comparison group included children lacking any COVID-19 symptoms attending routine check-ups or seeking care for issues unrelated to COVID-19. RESULTS: A high prevalence (43%) of SARS-CoV-2 infection was found, which was relatively equivalent in symptomatic and non-symptomatic children. Age distribution was similar between symptomatic and non-symptomatic children testing positive for SARS-CoV-2. Symptomatic children who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 were 2.7 times more likely to have diarrhoea (26.7% in positive vs 12.0% in negative; OR=2.7 (95% CI 1.5 to 4.8), p=0.001) and were 2.0 times more likely to have myalgia (17.8% in positive vs 9.8% in negative; OR=2.0 (95% CI 1.0 to 3.8), p=0.04). Children with COVID-19 symptoms, who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, were more likely to be under age 5 years and to have a pre-existing comorbid condition than children who tested positive but did not have symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: This is the first paediatric study to provide laboratory-confirmed data on SARS-CoV-2 infection in Nicaragua, crucial for paediatric health services planning and a successful COVID-19 response. The high prevalence of the virus suggests widespread and sustained community transmission, underscoring the urgent need for robust data on the true extent of SARS-CoV-2 infection throughout Nicaragua.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Criança , Pré-Escolar , Estudos Transversais , Humanos , Técnicas de Diagnóstico Molecular , Nicarágua/epidemiologia , Técnicas de Amplificação de Ácido Nucleico , Pandemias , Prevalência , RNA Viral , Fatores de Risco