Copyright ©The Author(s) 2021. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Methodol. Jan 20, 2021; 11(1): 1-14
Published online Jan 20, 2021. doi: 10.5662/wjm.v11.i1.1
Epidemiological burden of parents being the index cases of COVID-19 infected children
Sumanta Saha, Sujata Saha
Sumanta Saha, National Institute of Epidemiology, Ayapakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600077, India
Sujata Saha, Department of Mathematics, Mankar College, Mankar 713144, India
Author contributions: Sumanta Saha prepared the concept and design, performed the data analysis, and drafted the manuscript; Sujata Saha hard edited the manuscript; both authors contributed to the study selection and risk of bias assessment and agree with the content of the final version of the manuscript.
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors do not have any conflict of interest to declare.
PRISMA 2009 Checklist statement: The authors have read the PRISMA 2009 Checklist, and the manuscript was prepared and revised according to the PRISMA 2009 Checklist.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Corresponding author: Sumanta Saha, MPH, DNB, MBBS, Doctor, National Institute of Epidemiology, Ayapakkam, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600077, India.
Received: December 3, 2020
Peer-review started: December 3, 2020
First decision: December 11, 2020
Revised: December 17, 2020
Accepted: December 27, 2020
Article in press: December 27, 2020
Published online: January 20, 2021
Research background

Presently little is known about the global epidemiological burden of parent-to-child coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease transmissibility.

Research motivation

As children primarily remain at home with their parents due to the closure of schools across the globe (presumably to prevent community transmission of COVID-19 by children), it is crucial to know their domestic vulnerability to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection from their parents.

Research objectives

This study chiefly aimed to determine the pooled weighted prevalence of COVID-19 infection among children when the parent/s were their index cases.

Research methods

This meta-analysis incorporated articles reporting about the index case of COVID-19 infected ≤ 18 years old children by searching electronic databases. Besides data abstraction and critical appraisal of these studies, using random-effects meta-analysis, the weighted pooled prevalence of parents being and not-being the index case of the COVID-19 infected children was estimated.

Research results

This review included 13 studies published in 2020, reporting about 622 children from Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. Appraisable studies were fair in quality. The crude prevalence of parents being and not being the index cases of COVID-19 infected children were 54% (95%CI: 0.29-0.79; I2: 62.3%, Chi2 P < 0.001) and 46% (95%CI: 0.21-0.71; I2: 62.3%; Chi2 P < 0.01), respectively. For the former, on subgrouping by continent, the greatest burden was observed in Asia (75%), and most parents were symptomatic (73%).

Research conclusions

During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a substantial proportion of the COVID-19 infected children acquired the disease from their parents, and the majority of these parents were symptomatic from SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Research perspectives

This research depicts a substantial global burden of parents being the index cases of COVID-19 infected children. It highlights the critical importance of early detection of these index cases.