Respiratory viruses are the main cause of acute lower respiratory tract infection (ALRTI) in the pediatric population. In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared that the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) had reached the pandemic status. Our objective was to describe the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on hospitalizations due to ALRTI at Hospital de Niños Ricardo Gutiérrez (HNRG) and virus circulation.
Observational, retrospective, and descriptive study of patients hospitalized due to ALRTI comparing 2019 and 2020.
In 2020, the rate of hospitalization due to ALRTI decreased by 73%. In 2019, 517 patients with ALRTI were hospitalized; the following viruses were identified in 174: respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) (71.2%), adenovirus (AV) (10.3%), parainfluenza virus (PIV) (9.7%), and influenza virus (FLU) (8.6%). In 2020, 94 patients with ALRTI were hospitalized. Until epidemiological week (EW) 13, cases of ALRTI due to PIV and AV were recorded; in EW 29, there was 1 case of bronchiolitis due to AV and rhinovirus (RV), followed by isolated cases of RV; no ALRTI due to RSV or FLU was recorded. In total, 9 cases of ALRTI due to COVID-19 were recorded: 2 moderate bronchiolitis and 7 focal pneumonia; 1 adolescent with comorbidities died due to COVID-19 pneumonia. In 2020, patients were older and had more comorbidities and prior hospitalizations compared to 2019. Focal pneumonia prevailed.
In 2020, the rate of hospitalization due to ALRTI decreased significantly compared to 2019, with the absence of seasonal respiratory virus circulation in the pediatric population.