Community-Onset Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection in Young Infants: A Systematic Review

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Objective: To summarize and evaluate current reports on community-onset severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in young infants. Study design: We performed a systematic review to identify reports published from November 1, 2019, until June 15, 2020, on laboratory-confirmed community-onset SARS-CoV-2 infection in infants younger than 3 months of age. We excluded studies reporting neonates with perinatal coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) exposure and diagnosis before hospital discharge and hospital-onset disease, as well as clinically diagnosed cases without confirmation. Two independent reviewers performed study screening, data abstraction, and risk of bias assessment. Variables of interest included patient age, exposure to COVID-19, medical history, clinical symptoms, SARS-CoV-2 testing, laboratory findings, clinical course, and disposition. Results: In total, 38 publications met inclusion criteria, including 23 single case reports, 14 case series, and 1 cohort study, describing 63 infants younger than 3 months of age with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Most cases were mild to moderate. Fever, respiratory, gastrointestinal, cardiac, and neurologic findings were reported. Laboratory abnormalities included neutropenia, lymphopenia, and elevated serum levels of inflammatory markers and aminotransferases. Fifty-eight (92%) infants were hospitalized, 13 (21%) were admitted to the intensive care unit, and 2 (3%) required mechanical ventilation. No death was reported. Conclusions: Among young infants with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, most cases were mild to moderate and improved with supportive care. Our results demonstrate a need for a high index of suspicion for SARS-CoV-2 infection in young infants presenting with generalized symptoms such as fever or decreased feeding, even in the absence of respiratory symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-100.e3
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • neonate
  • pediatric
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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