University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Pediatric Respiratory Illness Hospitalizations Prior to COVID-19 and During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Southeast Wisconsin

Tracey Liljestrom, MD; Sarah Corey Bauer, MD; Francesca Moral, MD; Erin Preloger, MD; Mariann Chelampath, MD

WMJ. 2022;121(1):54-57

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Background: Public health measures combatting the COVID-19 pandemic also led to a decrease in other pediatric respiratory illnesses. We describe the local pattern of pediatric respiratory hospitalizations in southeast Wisconsin prior to COVID-19 and during the first year of the pandemic.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional examination of hospitalizations for asthma, bronchiolitis, and bacterial pneumonia at a single tertiary children’s hospital prior to COVID-19 through the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: We found a significant decrease in the average monthly hospitalization rates prior to and during COVID-19 for asthma, bronchiolitis, and bacterial pneumonia (P < 0.001), with average percent decrease of hospitalizations per month of 48%, 78%, and 47.7%, respectively.

Discussion: The decrease in hospitalizations is likely multifactorial and related to public health measures, behavior changes, and other epidemiological factors.

Author Affiliations: Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hospital Medicine, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Liljestrom, Bauer, Moral, Preloger, Chelampath).
Corresponding Author: Tracey Liljestrom, MD; Children’s Corporate Center, 999 N 92nd St, Suite 560, Milwaukee, WI 53226; phone 414.337.7050; email
Funding/Support: None declared.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
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