Covid outcomes may be more severe in children: Study


Children with Covid-19 may not display typical symptoms such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, therefore more screening and vigilance are required, researchers warned.

The study led by researchers at University of Alabama – Birmingham, US, found that children with Covid-19 may develop poor clinical outcomes such as requiring hospitalisation, critical care services and mechanical ventilation.

For the study, the team identified nearly 12,000 pediatric Covid-19 patients. The team found that the most common symptoms included cough and difficulty breathing, gastrointestinal complaints such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain, and non-specific symptoms such as fever, tiredness, muscle pain, and disturbance of taste and smell.

“While the rates of poor clinical outcomes are relatively lower in children when compared to adults, 5-6 percent still required hospitalisation. Among those hospitalised, 18 per cent required critical care and 4 per cent needed a ventilator for breathing,” said Vibhu Parcha, a clinical research fellow in the Division of Cardiovascular Disease.

The study also showed racial disparities in health care — evident in the higher risk of hospitalisation among children from underserved minority populations.

The findings are published in the Nature Scientific Reports journal.

The World Health Organisation, in an October 2020 document, reported that Covid-19 is much less frequent in children than in adults. Children and adolescents represented about 8 per cent of reported cases (and 29 per cent of the global population).

The study echoes the condition of many children infected with Covid-19 in the ongoing second and lethal wave of Coronavirus in India. Besides symptoms such as mild fever, cough, cold and abdominal issues, some even complained of body pain, headache, diarrhoea and vomiting. Children, even those below 1 year of age, were infected with the virus.

Some kids are also reporting more severe complications like multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) — a rare inflammatory condition with persistent fever. It generally occurs 2-4 weeks after the onset of Covid. Health experts have urged parents not to take their kids out and expose them to the virus.