It is less likely that children and adolescents are severely affected by Covid-19 or that for them be lethal. This is supported by the largest study in the world done on patients who have had the coronavirus. Among the risk factors for children:
- to be colored,
- be less than a month old.
The research also identified i new symptoms of a severe inflammatory syndrome which significantly increases the risk for children affected by Covid-19 of needing intensive care. The researchers asked the World Health Organization to update the definition of MIS-C, the Multiple System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (a syndrome similar to Kawasaki disease) so that they can help recognize the disease and promote treatment.
The team, led by researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Liverpool, Imperial College London and the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, recruited 651 children and young people under 19 hospitalized for Covid-19.
The study involved 138 UK hospitals. It turns out that it is it is rare for a young person to end up in hospital due to Covid-19.
In the hospital with other previous illnesses
- Less than 1% of study participants were hospitalized. The typical age of the patients admitted to the hospital was around five years.
- 42% of patients had at least one progressive condition, how asthma, for example.
The number of children and young adults involved in the study and deaths from Covid was “relatively low” – six in total – when compared to the adult mortality rate. Three of the dead babies were born premature and are also missing due to other serious health problems. The remaining three were aged between 15 and 18 and had other previous illnesses.
Children in intensive care
18% of children and young adults were hospitalized undergoing intensive care. According to experts, the children most at risk are:
- those less than a year old,
- and those between 10 and 14 years old.
As with adults, they found that:
- and being of color
are risk factors.
The study also identified 52 patients with the MIS-C, an inflammatory syndrome. These children were five times more likely to need intensive care.
Symptoms of MIS-C inflammatory syndrome
Symptoms found in children with MIS-C include:
- skin rash,
- gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
The study also found new symptoms attributable to Covid-19 in children with MIC-C.
- muscular pain,
- sore throat.
The study also found that the number of platelets – a component of the blood involved in clotting – was much lower in the blood of children with MIS-C than those without the condition.
Also according to experts, the combination of:
symptoms + low platelets
it could be a way to identify the major risk factor in children with MIS-C.
Dr Olivia Swann, lead author of the study and lecturer in Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Edinburgh commented: ‘Researchers often want to draw attention to large numbers of patients in their studies. Great Britain, only a small percentage of Covid-19 patients concerned children and the disease rarely affected them severely “.
The research was published in BMJ, British Medical Journal.