Background and objective: Public health interventions such as social distancing, wearing surgical or N95 masks, and handwashing are effective in significantly reducing the risk of infection . The purpose of this article is to analyze the effect of public health interventions on respiratory tract infection-related visits to pediatric emergency departments during the COVID-19 pandemic in Taiwan .
Method: Pediatric emergency department visits between January 1 2020 and April 30 2020 were included for trend analysis and compared to the same period during the past 3 years . The datasets were retrieved from Taiwan National Infectious Disease Statistics System and Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital . Respiratory tract infections with other diagnoses categories, including fever, asthma, and urinary tract infections, were included for subgroup analysis . Result: A significant decrease of more than 50% in respiratory tract infection-related visits was found from February to April 2020 in the national database . With regard to diagnosis category, the proportion of respiratory tract infections in Kaohsiung Chang Gung Hospital also became significantly lower in 2020 during the months of March (43.4 vs. 37.4%, p = 0.024) and April (40.1 vs. 32.2%, p <0.001). On the other hand, the proportion of urinary tract infections was significantly higher in 2020 during March (3.7 vs. 5.2%, p = 0.033) and April (3.9 vs. 6.5%, p <0.001), and that of asthma was also higher in April (1.6 vs. 2.6%, p = 0.025). Furthermore, the intensive care unit admission rate was relatively higher in 2020 from February, with significant differences noted in March (1.3 vs. 2.8%, p <0.001). Conclusion: Due to public health interventions for the COVID-19 pandemic, the transmission of not only COVID-19 but also other air droplet transmitted diseases in children may have been effectively prevented.