Top 5 Takeaways

  1. Significant Increase in Intracranial Infections: During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in pediatric intracranial infections was observed, with cases often diagnosed during or after a SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  2. Survey Findings: A survey conducted through the Emergency Infections Network (EIN) revealed that 43% of respondents observed an increase in intracranial infections in patients aged ≤18 years during the pandemic.
  3. Types of Infections: Isolated intracranial abscesses increased by an average of 100.9%, while sinusitis complicated by intracranial abscess increased by 76.7%. However, instances of orbital cellulitis, sinusitis, and mastoiditis decreased.
  4. Study Limitations: The study’s voluntary survey nature and low response rate suggest that the findings might not fully represent the situation across the United States, and causation cannot be inferred from this cross-sectional analysis.
  5. Call for Reporting and Further Investigation: The CDC has called for reporting of certain intracranial infections in persons aged ≤18 years, emphasizing the need for further investigation into the increase and its potential links to COVID-19.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Rosemary M. Olivero,

Suggested Citation

Khuon D, Ogrin S, Engels J, Aldrich A, Olivero RM. Notes from the Field: Increase in Pediatric Intracranial Infections During the COVID-19 Pandemic — Eight Pediatric Hospitals, United States, March 2020–March 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1000–1001. DOI:


This MMWR article reports an observed increase in pediatric intracranial infections across eight pediatric hospitals in the U.S. during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings are based on a survey conducted through the EIN, with a significant number of respondents indicating an increase in these infections, notably in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


The investigation involved an initial survey of EIN participants in February 2022, followed by a more detailed follow-up survey among interested respondents. Data from electronic medical records were used to assess changes in infection rates before and during the early pandemic period.


The increase in certain types of intracranial infections, particularly in the context of COVID-19, suggests a need for further investigation. The study’s limitations, including its voluntary nature and the lack of demographic data, highlight the need for more comprehensive research.


The observed increase in pediatric intracranial infections during the COVID-19 pandemic underlines the importance of ongoing surveillance, reporting, and research to understand the pathogenesis and management of these infections in the context of SARS-CoV-2.

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