Dynamics in COVID-19 symptoms during different waves of the pandemic among children infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the ambulatory setting

Amir Ben-Tov, Roni Lotan, Sivan Gazit, Gabriel Chodick, Galit Perez, Miri Mizrahi-Reuveni, Tal Patalon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The aim of this real-life, big data population-based study was to evaluate differences in symptomatic presentation of children infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) between the third and fourth waves of the pandemic in Israel, dominated by the Alpha and Delta variants, respectively. Our cohort included all children and adolescents, members of the second-largest Health Maintenance Organization in Israel that had positive real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test during the third and fourth waves of the pandemic (December 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, and June 1, 2021, to October 10, 2021, respectively). A total of 32,485 and 44,130 children and adolescents in the third and fourth waves were included in the final analysis. The rate of children with symptomatic disease among patients with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection was higher in the fourth wave compared to the third wave (49.9% vs. 37.5%). The most commonly reported symptom and the only symptom that substantially differed between waves was fever, with 33% of SARS-CoV-2 infected children in the fourth wave vs. 13.6% in the third wave. Preschool children had the lowest prevalence of febrile illness compared to other age groups. Conclusion: Children and adolescents infected during the fourth wave of the pandemic in Israel, a Delta-dominant period, had a significantly higher rate of symptomatic febrile illness than the Alpha-dominant period. This phenomenon occurred across all age groups.What is Known:• There are differences in COVID-19 severity among adults and children during different waves of the pandemic.• There is a paucity of data regarding symptomatic characteristics in children in large-scale cohorts aside from hospital settings.What is New:• In a time period dominated by the Delta variant, there were substantially more children with symptomatic disease and febrile illness compared to a period dominated by the alpha variant.• Preschool children had the lowest rate of febrile illness among all age groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3309-3318
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Coronavirus
  • Fever
  • Symptoms
  • Variants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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