As most children infected with SARS-CoV-2 present with mild symptoms or they are asymptomatic, the optimal strategy for molecular testing it is not well defined. The aim of the study was to determine the extent and etiology of molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 in Greek pediatric departments during the first phase of the pandemic and identify possible differences in incidence, depending on the age group and geographical area. We conducted a nationwide study of molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 of children in pediatric departments between March and June 2020. A total of 65 pediatric departments participated to the study, representing 4901 children who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and 90 (1.8%) were positive. Most pediatric cases were associated with topical outbreaks. Adolescents 11-16 years had the highest positivity rate (3.6%) followed by children 6-10 years (1.9%). However, since testing rate significantly differed between age groups, the modified incidence of SARSCoV-2 infection per age group was highest in infants <1 year (19.25/105 population). Most children tested presented with fever (70.9%), respiratory (50.1%) or gastrointestinal symptoms (28.1%). Significant differences were detected between public and private hospitals regarding positivity rate (2.34% vs 0.39%, P-value: <0.001). Significant variation in SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing positivity rate and incidence between age groups indicate discrepancies in risk factors among different age groups that shall be considered when ordering molecular testing.
Key words: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, children, testing, diagnosis, epidemiology
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