Adults with Down syndrome (DS) are at higher risk for severe outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) then the general population, but evidence is required to understand the risks for children with DS, which is necessary to inform COVID-19 shielding advice and vaccination priorities. We aimed to determine the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in children with DS. Using data from an international survey obtained from a range of countries and control data from the United States, we compared the prevalence of symptoms and medical complications and risk factors for severe outcomes between DS and non-DS paediatric populations with COVID-19. Hospitalised COVID-19 patients <18 years with DS had a higher incidence of respiratory symptoms, fever, and several medical complications from COVID-19 than control patients without DS <18 years. Older age, obesity, and epilepsy were significant risk factors for hospitalisation among paediatric COVID-19 patients with DS, and age and thyroid disorder were significant risk factors for acute respiratory distress syndrome. Mortality rates were low in all paediatric COVID-19 patients (with and without DS), contrasting with previous findings in adults with DS (who exhibit higher mortality than those without DS). Children with DS are at increased risk for more severe presentations of COVID-19. Efforts should be made to ensure the comprehensive and early detection of COVID-19 in this population and to identify children with DS who present comorbidities that pose a risk for a severe course of COVID-19. Our results emphasize the importance of vaccinating children with DS as soon as they become eligible.
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