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From March 2020 to February 2022, over 100,000 US children were hospitalized with COVID-19. A new study, “Codetections of Other Respiratory Viruses Among Children Hospitalized with COVID-19,” in the February 2023 Pediatrics (published online Jan. 18) found that over the course of the pandemic, these children were increasingly likely to have secondary viral infections, like a cold or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). These co-infections were linked to worse symptoms, the study found. Researchers analyzed COVID-19 Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) data on 4,372 children hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 from March 2020 to February 2022 from 19 states. They found children under age 5 having any viral codetection such as rhinovirus or enterovirus were significantly more likely to experience severe respiratory illness. These hospitalized COVID patients had approximately twice the odds of severe respiratory illness compared to those without a second viral infection. Also, hospitalized children under age 2 with RSV codetections had approximately twice the odds of severe respiratory illness compared to those without RSV. The study found that respiratory virus codetections were rare in the first year of the pandemic, but RSV and rhinovirus/enterovirus codetections increased later in the pandemic when the Delta variant of COVID was predominant. Researchers concluded that young children who are hospitalized for COVID-19 may benefit from additional viral testing especially when virus co-circulation is high.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.