Children's Hospital Admissions Reduced After March 2020

Fewer hospital admissions reported for respiratory, severe invasive, and vaccine-preventable infections

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WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Substantial and sustained reductions in hospital admissions were seen among children after March 1, 2020, according to a study published online Jan. 12 in The BMJ.

Seilesh Kadambari, M.B.B.S., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospital admission rates and mortality outcomes in a population-based observational study of 19 common childhood respiratory, severe invasive, and vaccine-preventable infections. Hospital admission data for children aged 0 to 14 years were included for every National Health Service hospital in England from March 1, 2017, to June 30, 2021.

The researchers found that for all but one of the infective conditions studied, there were substantial and sustained reductions in hospital admissions after March 1, 2020. The greatest percentage of reductions among respiratory infections were for influenza (94 percent reduction) and bronchiolitis (82 percent reduction). The greatest reduction among severe invasive infections was seen for meningitis (50 percent reduction). Reductions for vaccine-preventable infections ranged from 53 to 90 percent for mumps and measles, respectively. The reductions were observed across all demographic subgroups and for those with underlying conditions. There were corresponding decreases seen in the absolute numbers of 60-day case fatalities, although there was an increase in the proportion of children admitted for pneumonia who died within 60 days (age-sex adjusted odds ratio, 1.71).

"Kadambari and colleagues' study and others show that societies have greater control over the incidence of a wide range of infectious diseases than previously appreciated," write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

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