WEDNESDAY, Jan. 18, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- For children younger than 5 years hospitalized with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), respiratory virus coinfections may increase illness severity, according to a study published online Jan. 18 in Pediatrics.
Nickolas T. Agathis, M.D., M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues identified 4,372 children hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 infection during March 2020 to February 2022. Demographics, clinical features, and outcomes were compared for those with and without codetections on any non-SARS-CoV-2 virus testing.
Overall, 62 percent of the 4,372 children hospitalized had non-SARS-CoV-2 respiratory virus testing, and of these children, 21 percent had a codetection. The researchers found that those with codetection were more likely to be younger than 5 years of age, receive increased oxygen support, or have intensive care unit admission. For children aged younger than 5 years, significant associations with severe illness were seen for those having any viral codetection (adjusted odds ratios, 2.1 and 1.9 for those aged younger than 2 years and 2 to 4 years, respectively) or rhinovirus/enterovirus codetection (adjusted odds ratio, 2.4 for both those aged younger than 2 years and 2 to 4 years). Respiratory syncytial virus codetections were also significantly associated with severe illness among children younger than 2 years (adjusted odds ratio, 1.9). For children aged 5 years or older, no significant associations were seen.
"Young children who are hospitalized for COVID-19 may benefit from additional viral respiratory pathogen testing, especially when circulation of other pathogens is high," the authors write. "Identification of codetections can help inform clinical and public health practice."
One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.