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Editorial
Coronavirus disease 2019 infection in pediatric patients in Korea: insights and implications
Yu Jin Jungorcid
Kosin Medical Journal 2024;39(2):81-82.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.7180/kmj.24.122
Published online: June 26, 2024

Department of Pediatrics, Kosin University Gospel Hospital, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea

Corresponding Author: Yu Jin Jung, MD, PhD Department of Pediatrics, Kosin University Gospel Hospital, Kosin University College of Medicine, 262 Gamcheon-ro, Seo-gu, Busan 49267, Korea Tel: +82-51-990-3336 Fax: +82-50-4087-7893 E-mail : hasaohjung@hanmail.net
• Received: May 22, 2024   • Revised: June 10, 2024   • Accepted: June 10, 2024

© 2024 Kosin University College of Medicine.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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See the article "Clinical features of coronavirus disease 2019 in Korean pediatric patients: a single-center retrospective study " on page 99.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), remains a topic of considerable concern and interest worldwide [1,2]. With over 500,000 reported deaths attributed to COVID-19 infections [3], it is crucial to understand the pandemic's impact on children to address concerns associated with the infection [4]. Therefore, understanding the unique signs and effects of the COVID-19 virus in the pediatric population is of the utmost importance.
In the current issue of the Kosin Medical Journal, Jeong et al. [5] present an analysis of clinical characteristics and outcomes of COVID-19 in pediatric patients based on cases from a single institution in Korea. The study found that out of 311 pediatric patients diagnosed with COVID-19, the majority were aged 6–11 years [5]. Fever was the most common symptom, and its prevalence decreased with age. When comparing clinical characteristics of patients aged 6 and older in the asthma and non-asthma groups, no significant differences were observed in symptoms such as cough, runny nose, nasal stuffiness, and dyspnea. Adolescents were categorized into two groups: those who had completed the basic two-dose vaccination regimen and those who had not. There was no difference in the average time from COVID-19 diagnosis to clinic visit between the vaccinated and unvaccinated groups. However, the incidence and peak values of fever were significantly lower in the vaccinated group. The study underscores the importance of vigilance in pediatric patients with underlying conditions like allergic rhinitis and precocious puberty, even though children generally exhibit milder symptoms than adults [5]. Precocious puberty, marked by the early onset of puberty, may suggest an underlying endocrine or metabolic imbalance that could affect the immune response to infections [6]. Children with such conditions may need closer monitoring during a COVID-19 infection due to their potentially altered physiological state, which could make them more susceptible to severe outcomes. The study also noted a significantly higher incidence of post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, such as a cough persisting for more than 4 weeks, in the asthma group. Long COVID-19 syndrome, characterized by prolonged symptoms like persistent cough and fatigue, can impact children's daily activities and overall well-being. Additionally, although not covered in this study, it is crucial to be aware that some pediatric COVID-19 patients may develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) [7,8]. MIS-C is a serious condition that can emerge weeks after infection, involving inflammation across multiple organ systems and necessitating immediate medical attention. Therefore, it is important to monitor and promptly address potential complications.
This study highlights the necessity for ongoing research to fully understand the complex and varied clinical manifestations of COVID-19 in children. Additionally, the observation that 90% of the families or cohabitants of pediatric patients also contracted the infection has profound implications for infection control and public health policy [5]. By clarifying the clinical spectrum of COVID-19 in pediatric patients, healthcare providers can more effectively customize diagnostic and treatment strategies, ensuring timely interventions and optimal outcomes [9]. Moreover, these findings highlight the critical importance of pediatric-specific preventive measures, including vaccination and infection control strategies, in safeguarding the health and well-being of children [1].
While this study has limitations due to its single-institution scope and limited duration, it offers valuable data on the clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in Korean pediatric patients. The insights derived from this research can help reduce anxiety about COVID-19 infections in children. However, further large-scale domestic studies are necessary to validate these findings.

Conflicts of interest

No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

Funding

None.

Author contributions

All the work was done by YJJ.

  • 1. Yoon S, Li H, Lee KH, Hong SH, Kim D, Im H, et al. Clinical characteristics of asymptomatic and symptomatic pediatric coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): a systematic review. Medicina (Kaunas) 20 2015;56:474.ArticlePubMedPMC
  • 2. Haleemunnissa S, Didel S, Swami MK, Singh K, Vyas V. Children and COVID19: understanding impact on the growth trajectory of an evolving generation. Child Youth Serv Rev 2021;120:105754.ArticlePubMedPMC
  • 3. World Health Organization (WHO). Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation report-171 [Internet]. WHO; c2020 [cited 2024 May 21]. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200709-covid-19-sitrep-171
  • 4. Shen J. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, youth and families. Judge Baker Center Evidence-Based Policy Institute; 2020.
  • 5. Jeong JE, Chung HL, Kim YH, Lee N, Kim Y, Jang YY. Clinical features of coronavirus disease 2019 in Korean pediatric patients: a single-center retrospective study. Kosin Med J 2024;39:99–111.Article
  • 6. Street ME, Sartori C, Catellani C, Righi B. Precocious puberty and Covid-19 into perspective: potential increased frequency, possible causes, and a potential emergency to be addressed. Front Pediatr 2021;9:734899.ArticlePubMedPMC
  • 7. Feldstein LR, Rose EB, Horwitz SM, Collins JP, Newhams MM, Son MBF, et al. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in U.S. children and adolescents. N Engl J Med 2020;383:334–46.ArticlePubMedPMC
  • 8. Godfred-Cato S, Bryant B, Leung J, Oster ME, Conklin L, Abrams J, et al. COVID-19-associated multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children: United States, March-July 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1074–80.ArticlePubMedPMC
  • 9. National Institutes of Health. Final NIH coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment guidelines (February 20, 2024) [Internet]. National Institutes of Health; c2024 [cited 2024 May 21]. https://www.covid19treatmentguidelines.nih.gov

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