This review summarizes epidemiologic, clinical and diagnostic findings, as well as treatment and prevention options for common circulating and novel CoVs infections in humans with a focus on infections in children.
The main findings include:
- Evidence that SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 infections affect children less commonly and less severely as compared with adults. Reasons include less frequent exposure to the main sources of transmission (e.g., hospitals) or to animals, or because children have fewer or less severe symptoms and are therefore less often tested.
- In relation to SARS-CoV-2, children are just as likely as adults to become infected with this virus but are less likely to be symptomatic or develop severe symptoms.
- The importance of children in transmitting the virus remains uncertain.
- The majority of children infected by a novel CoVs reported thus far have a documented household contact, often showing symptoms before them, suggesting the possibility that children are not an important reservoir for novel CoVs.
- The clinical, laboratory and radiologic features in children are similar for all novel CoVs, except more children infected with SARS-CoV presented with fever compared with SARS-CoV-2 or MERS-CoV.
- To date, no deaths in children have been reported for SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2, except (in the case of the former) for infants of mothers who were infected during pregnancy.