A 16-year-old boy with cough and fever in the era of COVID-19

Kelsey R. Anderson, Natalie Villafranco, Lindsay Hatzenbuehler Cameron, Erica K. Schallert, Ashley Joshi-Patel, Amy Arrington, Andrea Dean

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Copyright © 2021 by the American Academy of Pediatrics A 16-year-old white boy with a history of chronic lung disease of prematurity, cough-variant asthma, and incidental lung nodules presented to the emergency center in spring 2020 with acute onset dry cough, shortness of breath, and fever. An initial history, gathered from his mother because of the patient's respiratory distress, revealed no recent travel. However, his mother is a health care worker at a hospital, and sick contacts included ongoing contact with a friend with cold-like symptoms. He had a variety of animals at home, including a dog, cats, fish, rodents, and reptiles. He had a history of vaping tobacco products.6 months ago. Fever and respiratory symptoms were associated with fatigue, chest tightness, abdominal pain, and myalgias. On examination, he was ill appearing and had tachycardia, tachypnea, borderline hypoxia with an oxygen saturation of 91% on room air, diminished breath sounds at the lung bases, and unremarkable abdominal examination results. A chest radiograph was consistent with the lung examination, revealing bilateral lower lobe hazy infiltrates. He showed initial improvement for 48 hours with antibiotics, intravenous fluid resuscitation, oxygen via nasal cannula, albuterol, and prednisone. Subsequently, he worsened with persistent high fever, increasing respiratory distress with pulmonary findings, and severe persistent epigastric pain, which added a layer of diagnostic complexity. As this patient's clinical course evolved and further history became available, pulmonary medicine and infectious diseases services were consulted to guide diagnostic evaluation and treatment of this patient early in the era of coronavirus disease 2019.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2021

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