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Reduced PICU respiratory admissions during COVID-19
  1. Pablo Vásquez-Hoyos1,2,3,
  2. Franco Diaz-Rubio3,4,5,
  3. Nicolas Monteverde-Fernandez3,6,
  4. Juan Camilo Jaramillo-Bustamante3,7,8,
  5. Cristobal Carvajal3,9,
  6. Alberto Serra3,10,
  7. Todd Karsies11,
  8. Alexandre Tellechea Rotta12,
  9. Sebastián González-Dambrauskas3,10
  10. LARed Network
    1. 1 Pediatrics, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
    2. 2 Pediatrics, Fundacion Universitaria de Ciencias de la Salud, Bogota, Colombia
    3. 3 Red Colaborativa Pediátrica de Latinoamérica (LARed Network), Montevideo, Uruguay
    4. 4 Unidad de Paciente Crítico Pediátrico, Hospital El Carmen de Maipú, Santiago, Chile
    5. 5 Instituto de Ciencias e Innovación en Medicina, Universidad del Desarrollo, Santiago de Chile, Santiago, Chile
    6. 6 Cuidados Intensivos Pediátricos y Neonatales (CINP) [Pediatric and Neonatal Critical Care], Medica Uruguaya, Montevideo, Uruguay
    7. 7 Pediatrics, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia
    8. 8 Pediatric Intensive Care, Hospital General de Medellin, Medellin, Colombia
    9. 9 Instituto de Ciencias e Innovación en Medicina, Universidad del Desarrollo Facultad de Medicina Clínica Alemana, Las Condes, Chile
    10. 10 Cuidados Intensivos Pediátricos Especializados (CIPe), Casa de Galicia, Montevideo, Uruguay
    11. 11 Division of Pediatric Critical Care, Department of Pediatrics, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
    12. 12 Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
    1. Correspondence to Dr Pablo Vásquez-Hoyos, Department of Pediatrics, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota 111411, Colombia; pvasquez{at}; pvasquezh{at}


    Background The COVID-19 pandemic reached the Southern Hemisphere in the autumn of 2020, thus coinciding with its expected annual viral respiratory season. The potential impact of national strategies aimed at mitigating COVID-19 during the pandemic on the incidence of other critical viral lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) in children is unknown.

    Methods We analysed admission data for LRTIs from 22 paediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in four countries, part of a large international Latin American registry of children with acute respiratory failure (Red Colaborativa Pediátrica de Latinoamérica [LARed Network]).

    Results Between January and August, there were 83% fewer PICU admissions for LRTIs in 2020 compared to the 2018/2019 average over the same period. Similar decreases were noted for PICU admissions due to respiratory syncytial virus and influenza (92% and 78%, respectively).

    Conclusion We observed a striking reduction in PICU admissions due to viral LRTIs over winter, during the COVID-19 pandemic in South America.

    • statistics
    • microbiology
    • epidemiology

    Data availability statement

    Data are available upon reasonable request.

    This article is made freely available for use in accordance with BMJ’s website terms and conditions for the duration of the covid-19 pandemic or until otherwise determined by BMJ. You may use, download and print the article for any lawful, non-commercial purpose (including text and data mining) provided that all copyright notices and trade marks are retained.

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    Data availability statement

    Data are available upon reasonable request.

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    • PV-H and SG-D are joint first authors.

    • Twitter @pvasquezcolpicu, @COFRANDI, @Nmtvd, @juancajara78, @cris_eldoc, @albertoserra78, @KarsiesTodd, @AlexRotta, @sgdambrauskas

    • Collaborators Dr Antonio Bravo, Caja Nacional de Salud, La Paz, Bolivia; Dr Nils Casson Rodriguez, Hospital Regional San Juan de Dios, Tarija, Bolivia; Dr Miguel Céspedes Lesczinsky, Hospital Materno Infantil Boliviano Japonés, Trinidad, Bolivia; Dr Alejandro Donoso, Hospital Clínico Metropolitano La Florida, Santiago, Chile; Dr Adriana Wegner, Complejo Asistencial; Dr Sotero del Rio, Santiago, Chile; Dr Diego Aranguiz Quintanilla, Complejo Asistencial; Dr Víctor Ríos Ruíz, Los Ángeles, Chile; Dr Rosalba Pardo and Dr Alexandra Jimenez, Clínica Infantil Colsubsidio, Bogotá, Colombia; Dr Alicia Fernández, Asociación Española, Montevideo, Uruguay; Dr Luis Castro, CAMDEL, Minas, Uruguay; Dr Mónica Carro, Círculo Católico, Montevideo, Uruguay; Bernardo Alonso, COMECA, Canelones, Uruguay; Dr Loredana Matrai, Hospital Evangélico, Montevideo, Uruguay; Lic. Cristina Courtie, Hospital Militar, Montevideo, Uruguay; Dr Luis Martínez, COMEPA, Paysandú, Uruguay; Dr Araní Ferré Hospital Policial, Montevideo, Uruguay; Dr Luis Pedrozo, Hospital Salto, Salto, Uruguay; Dra Soledad Menta, Hospital Tacuarembó, Tacuarembó, Uruguay.

    • Contributors PV-H, FD-R and SG-D had full access to all the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. PV-H, FD-R and SG-D were involved in the concept and design; acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data; statistical analysis; and administrative, technical, or material support. PV-H and SG-D contributed to the drafting of the manuscript and supervision.

    • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

    • Competing interests None declared.

    • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.