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Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2014 Sep;33(9):904-6. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000000325.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus disease in children.

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From the *Al-Faisal University, Riyadh; †Saudi Aramco Medical Services Organisation, Saudi ARAMCO, Dhahran; ‡Infection Prevention and Control Program, Public Health Directorate, Ministry of Health; §King Faisal Specialist Hospital; ¶Alhada Military Hospital; ‖Communicable Disease Program, Ministry of Health; **Jeddah Regional Laboratory, Ministry of Health, Jeddah; ††College of Medicine, King Saud University; and ‡‡Minister of Health, Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



In the initial description of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, many affected patients were adults with underlying medical comorbidities. Data on the clinical presentation and outcome of pediatric cases are lacking. We report the clinical presentation and outcome of MERS-CoV infection in 11 pediatric patients.


The clinical presentation, demographic and laboratory data of pediatric patients with MERS-CoV were analyzed.


A total of 11 pediatric cases that tested positive by screening and confirmatory polymerase chain reaction for MERS-CoV were reported from Saudi Arabia. Two patients were symptomatic and the other 9 cases were asymptomatic. The median age of patients was 13 (range 2-16) years. There were 8 females and 3 males (2.7:1 ratio). One symptomatic patient died and the other symptomatic patient recovered. The diagnosis of patients was based on positive nasopharyngeal swabs on 10 patients.


MERS-CoV disease is not limited to adults. Most cases of childhood MERS-CoV infection were asymptomatic and tested positive during contact investigation of older patients. Severe disease can occur in children with underlying conditions.

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