HealthDay News — The pooled prevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV02) in asymptomatic children is 0.65 percent and is significantly associated with the incidence of COVID-19 in the general population, according to a research letter published online Aug. 25 in JAMA Pediatrics.
Ana Marija Sola, from the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, and colleagues examined the prevalence of positive SARS-CoV-2 test results in children who were tested, but not because of suspicion for COVID-19 infection, at 28 children’s hospitals across the United States. SARS-CoV-2 RNA testing was performed before surgery, clinic visits, or hospital admission for children.
The researchers found that through May 29, 2020, 250 of 33,041 children without symptoms who were tested at 28 hospitals were positive for SARS-CoV-2. The prevalence varied from 0 to 2.2 percent across the 25 combined statistical areas represented by these children’s hospitals, with a pooled prevalence of 0.65 percent. There was a significant association seen for asymptomatic pediatric prevalence with the weekly incidence of COVID-19 in the general population. In individuals without symptoms, no other factor (combined statistical area population, number of tests performed, region, testing indication, or sample collection site) demonstrated a significant association with prevalence.
“The strong association between prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in children who are asymptomatic and contemporaneous weekly incidence of COVID-19 in the general population provides a simple means for institutions to estimate local pediatric asymptomatic prevalence from the publicly available Johns Hopkins University database,” the authors write.