Severe or fatal COVID-19 very rare in children, study finds
Severe or fatal COVID-19 very rare in children, study finds
Covid-19: 10 new cases detected today
30 August, 2020, 12:42
Among 91 children with confirmed COVID-19 infection, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs for a mean 17.6 days after an initial positive test, reported Jong-Hyun Kim, MD, PhD, of The Catholic University of Korea, in Seoul.
This doesn't necessarily mean the children were spreading virus, Calum Semple, a professor in child health and outbreak medicine at the University of Liverpool who was not involved in the study, said in a statement distributed by the UK-based Science Media Center.
Children can shed the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, even if they are asymptomatic, or for long after their symptoms have cleared, according to a study which sheds more light on the significance of the paediatric population in the pandemic's spread.
Researchers found that pediatric patients who never developed signs such as cough or shortness of breath had the virus in their respiratory symptoms for an average of 14 days. One of these is the large number of asymptomatic patients - about a fifth of the group followed in this study. With many school districts resuming in-person schooling next month, a renewed attention has been placed on how children spread the virus. Other patients experienced fever, cough, diarrhea, abdominal pain and loss of smell or taste, among other symptoms. Most - 66.2% - of those with symptoms had symptoms that were not recognized before they were diagnosed and 25.4% developed symptoms after they were diagnosed. While the virus was detectable for an average of about two-and-a-half weeks in the entire group, a significant portion of the children - about a fifth of the asymptomatic patients and about half of the symptomatic ones - were still shedding virus at the three-week mark. A third and important point, they say, is the duration of viral shedding.
Children and young people are far less likely than adults to get severe cases of COVID-19 infection, and death from the pandemic disease among children is exceptionally rare, according to United Kingdom research published on Thursday.
The latter finding "suggests that even mild and moderately affected children remain symptomatic for long periods of time", DeBiasi and Delaney wrote. Some patients may test negative on one platform and positive on the next, and sampling at different locations within the respiratory tract or even by different staff can influence whether a test comes back positive, DeBiasi and Delaney noted.
Considering that about half of all infected children displayed no symptoms and were discovered only thanks to mass testing, this indicates that children and teenagers may act as one of the main virus sources.
Lastly, Drs. DeBiasi and Delaney point out, the study only tested for viral shedding from the respiratory tract even though multiple studies have detected the virus in other bodily fluids, including stool.
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