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Francesco Nunziata 1Marco Poeta 1Edoardo Vassallo 1Grazia Isabella Continisio 2Andrea Lo Vecchio 1Alfredo Guarino 1Eugenia Bruzzese 1Affiliations expand


Introduction: The transmission rates severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from children to adults are unclear due to a lack of controlled conditions. Materials and Methods: We investigated the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 transmission among 12 discordant child-parent pairs in our ward. In each hospital isolation room, caregivers and children lived in close contact during the entire hospitalization period. Results: A total of 136 swab-positive children (mean age, 3.6 ± 4.9 median age, 1; IQR 0-6.2, range 0.1-17) attended by their caregivers were hospitalized. Of those, 12/136 (8.8%, mean age, 6.1 ± 5.3 median age, 4.5) were attended by caregivers who were swab and serology negative at admission despite previous close contact with positive children at home. Three children were completely dependent on their mothers, one of whom was being breastfed. The mean duration of overall exposure to the index case was 20.5 ± 8.2 days. Conclusion: None of the infected children transmitted SARS-CoV-2 infection to their caregivers, raising the hypothesis of a cluster of resistant mothers or of limited transmission from children to adults despite prolonged exposure and close contact. These data might provide reassurance regarding school openings and offer the chance of investigating SARS-CoV-2 variants in the future under the same quasi-experimental conditions.

Keywords: COVID-19; caregiver; children; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; spreading infection.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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