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Comparative study of the clinical characteristics and epidemiological trend of 244 COVID-19 infected children with or without GI symptoms
  1. Xiao-li Xiong1,
  2. Kenneth Kak-yuen Wong2,
  3. Shui-qing Chi3,
  4. Ai-fen Zhou4,
  5. Jian-qiao Tang1,
  6. Li-shan Zhou1,
  7. Patrick Ho-yu Chung2,
  8. Gilbert Chua5,
  9. Ketih Tung5,
  10. Ian Wong6,7,
  11. Celine Chui6,
  12. Xue Li6,
  13. Mike Yat-wah Kwan8,
  14. Wilfred Hing-sang Wong5,
  15. Marco Hok-kung Ho5,
  16. Godfrey Chi-fung Chan5,
  17. Guo-qing Cao3,
  18. Kang Li3,
  19. Patrick Ip5,
  20. Peng Chen9,
  21. Shao-tao Tang3,
  22. Paul Kwong-hang Tam2,10
  1. 1 Department of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine, Wuhan Children’s Hospital (Wuhan Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital), Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
  2. 2 Department of Surgery, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  3. 3 Department of Paediatric Surgery, Union Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
  4. 4 Department of Maternal Healthcare, Wuhan Children’s Hospital (Wuhan Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital), Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
  5. 5 Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, LKS Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  6. 6 Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  7. 7 Research Department of Practice and Policy, UCL School of Parmacy, University College, London, United Kingdom
  8. 8 Department of Paediatrics, Princess Margaret Hospital, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  9. 9 Department of Respiratory Medicine, Wuhan Children’s Hospital (Wuhan Maternal and Child Healthcare Hospital), Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China
  10. 10 Dr. Li Dak Sun Research Centre, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, HKSAR, China
  1. Correspondence to Professor Paul Kwong-hang Tam, Surgery, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, Hong Kong; paultam{at}hku.hk; Dr Patrick Ip; patricip{at}hku.hk; Dr Peng Chen; longting2010{at}yeah.net; Professor Shao-tao Tang; tshaotao83{at}hust.edu.cn

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Gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms1 2 and positive stool severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection3 have been reported in COVID-19 infected patients. However, these studies mainly focused on the adult population, and it is still not known whether children with COVID-19 have similar GI involvement.

We here report the clinical characteristics of 244 consecutive COVID-19 positive children from Wuhan, during the period 21 January to 20 March 2020. All were confirmed to have SARS-CoV-2 by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) on nasopharyngeal swabs. We specifically compared the differences between patients with and without GI symptoms (having at least one of the following: diarrhoea; nausea and vomiting; abdominal pain; and decreased feeding). In our cohort, 34 of 244 (13.9%) presented with GI symptoms on admission. These patients were much younger (14 vs 86 months; p<0.05), and more than half were under 3 years old.

For the clinical and laboratory parameters, patients with GI symptoms were more likely to have fever on admission (70.6% vs 35.7%, p<0.05) (table 1). No other significant differences were found between the two groups, including respiratory symptoms, the duration of …

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