OBJECTIVES: To describe the epidemiology, clinical and laboratory features, and outcome of children hospitalized with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the Middle East.
METHODS: A multicenter retrospective study of children hospitalized with COVID-19 in 7 centers across Oman between February and July 2020.
RESULTS: In total, 56 children <14 years old required hospitalization in 7 Omani centers over 5 months (February - July 2020). Thirty-seven (68%) children were admitted with uncomplicated COVID-19, 13 (23%) with pneumonia and 5 (9%) with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. Infants constituted 41% of cases (23/56), approximately half of whom (12/23, 52%) were <2-months old. Fever was the most common symptom (46, 82%), followed by respiratory symptoms (33, 59%), and gastrointestinal symptoms (31, 55%). Twenty-two (39%) children had underlying medical conditions: sickle cell disease (7, 13%), chronic respiratory disease (4, 7%) and severe neurological impairment (4, 7%). Leukocytosis, elevated inflammatory markers and anemia were independently associated with intensive care admission. There were no mortalities related to admission with COVID-19 in this cohort.
CONCLUSION: Most of the children hospitalized with COVID-19 had a mild course and a satisfactory outcome. Sickle cell disease is the most common comorbidity associated with pediatric admission of COVID-19 in Oman.