Balkan Medical Journal
Original Articles

Evaluation of COVID-19 Disease and the Effect of Trends in Intervention Measures: The Pediatric Perspective from a Tertiary Care Hospital in Turkey


Division of Pediatric Emergency Care, Department of Pediatrics, Dokuz Eylül University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey


Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics, Dokuz Eylül University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey


Department of Medical Microbiology, Dokuz Eylül University School of Medicine, İzmir, Turkey

Balkan Medical Journal 2021; 38: 222-228
DOI: 10.5152/balkanmedj.2021.21045
Read: 715 Downloads: 322 Published: 06 July 2021

Background: COVID-19 is an emerging disease of global public health concern.

Aims: To evaluate the epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and radiologic findings and the clinical outcomes of children who were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and to evaluate the effect of the trends in intervention measures.

Study Design: Between April 2, 2020 and January 16, 2021, children aged 0-18 years who had presented at the pediatric emergency department and were diagnosed with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 by PCR were enrolled.

Methods: Details on demographics, epidemiologic characteristics, clinical findings, laboratory data, and radiologic investigations, hospital admissions, and prognosis were recorded. According to clinical severity, patients were divided into 5 groups as asymptomatic, mild, moderate, severe, or critical. We classified the outbreak into 3 periods. The first was between April 2, 2020, the date when the first pediatric case of our hospital was detected, and June 1, 2020, when restrictive measures were relaxed. The second period was between June 1, 2020 and November 15, 2020, when restrictive measures were reimplemented. The third period was between November 15, 2020 and January 16, 2021.

Results: A total of 600 patients [median age: 10.3 years (IQR: 4.4-15.1); 304 females] were enrolled. Among them, 25.0% were asymptomatic, while the 3 most common symptoms among symptomatic cases were fever, cough, and fatigue. There was contact with a COVID-19 PCRpositive individual in 73.5% of the cases, with 76.6% of those being a household contact. There were 23 (3.9%) moderate, severe, or critical cases in terms of clinical severity. The presence of chronic disease, a pathological physical chest examination, and procalcitonin levels of >0.05 ng/mL were identified as predictors of being moderate, severe, or critical. Twenty-four (4.0%) patients were admitted to the hospital; 14 (2.3%) to the ward and 10 (1.6%) to the pediatric intensive care unit. In the second intervention period, we observed a rapidly increasing number of new cases daily, especially in August. From September, an increase was observed, being particularly marked from October to November 18. Since then, there was a decrease in the daily number of cases.

Conclusion: The majority of the cases were asymptomatic or had a mild clinical presentation. The presence of chronic disease, a pathological physical chest examination, and procalcitonin levels of >0.05 ng/mL were identified as predictors of being moderate, severe, or critical in terms of clinical severity. Strict intervention measures seem to be effective in containing the spread of COVID-19.

Cite this article as: Şık N, Duman M, Yılmaz D, et al. Evaluation of COVID-19 disease and the effect of trends in intervention measures: The pediatric perspective from a tertiary care hospital in Turkey. Balkan Med J. 2021;38(4):222-228.

ISSN 2146-3123 EISSN 2146-3131