COVID-19 in Spain: Screening and Severity in Children Interview with:

Dr. Tagarro

Dr Alfredo Tagarro MD PhD
Pediatrician – Hospital Universitario Infanta Sofía
Clinical Research – Fundación Investigación Hospital
Assistant Professor – Universidad Europea de Madrid
Madrid What is the background for this study?

Response: Madrid is being hit hard by the disease. Almost all doctors, including pediatricians, are dedicated to attending COVID-19 patients, essencially adults. However, there are some moderate and severe cases among children.

In Madrid, clinical pediatricians from 30 hospitals joined their efforts to report and analyze pediatric patients with COVID-19. What are the main findings?

Response: The primary message is that the amount of children with severe disease is much smaller than adults, but a few children need hospitalization and intensive care. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We tested only children with a high likelihood of hospitalization or children with previous diseases. In other sites, like China or Korea, researchers tested also pauci-symptomatic children or asymptomatic contacts, or even just asymptomatic children living in an epidemic area. The high proportion of hospitalized children in our paper depends on the denominator. Necessarily, if we tested only patients likely to be admitted, the proportion of admitted patients is high.

These numbers are very preliminary and should be taken with caution. Still, there are some figures that deserve attention and follow-up. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work? 

Response: Our group, like many others, is developing a project focused on the spectrum and the natural history of the disease in children, the outcome, and some substudies. Of special interest would be to know what is makes the disease so different in children compared to adults. The key may be in the immune system, and this has to be studied in depth.

No disclosures


Tagarro A, Epalza C, Santos M, et al. Screening and Severity of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Children in Madrid, Spain. JAMA Pediatr. Published online April 08, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.1346


May 12, 2020 @ 2:02 am

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