Abstract

Objective: To examine whether the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with an increased incidence of uveitis in children.

Study design: We performed a time-series analysis of patient records from a national, hospital-based, French surveillance system. All children hospitalized for uveitis in France between January 2012 and March 2022 were included. The incidence of newly diagnosed uveitis per 100 000 children per trimester in France was analyzed by a quasi-Poisson regression. A cohort of children diagnosed with uveitis at Robert-Debré Hospital was used to compare the characteristics of uveitis after and before the onset of the pandemic.

Results: During the study period, 2492 children were hospitalized for uveitis in France. The COVID-19 pandemic, which started in March 2020, was associated with a significant increase in the occurrence of uveitis (estimated cumulative change, 44.9%; 95% CI 11.4-78.4; P < .001). The increase in the incidence of pediatric uveitis started in October 2020, while the national immunization program targeting children aged less than 18 years began in June 2021. This increase involved all forms of uveitis, regardless of location, and clincial characteristics were similar to those diagnosed before the pandemic.

Conclusions: Our study evidenced a significant increase in the incidence of pediatric uveitis following the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase occurred 6 months before the implementation of the national COVID-19 vaccination program for children, suggesting that the resurgence of this rare disease is independent of COVID-19 vaccination.

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