Prolonged Covid can persist in infected children for at least two months. (representative image)
London: A study published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health Thursday showed that children infected with SARS-CoV-2 can experience prolonged Covid symptoms lasting at least two months.
The largest study to date of prolonged Covid symptoms in children aged 0-14 years used nationwide sampling of children in Denmark and matched Covid-19 positive cases with a control group with no prior history of the disease.
“The overall objective of our study was to determine the prevalence of long-term symptoms in children and infants, along with quality of life, and absence from school or day care,” said Professor Celina Kickenburg-Berg, from University Hospital Copenhagen, Denmark.
“Our results reveal that although children with a positive diagnosis of Covid-19 are more likely to develop long-term symptoms than children who were not previously diagnosed with Covid-19, the pandemic has affected every aspect of the lives of all young people,” Berg said. “.
The researcher said that further research on the long-term consequences of the pandemic for all children will be important going forward.
Most previous studies on COVID-19 have focused on adolescents, and infants and young children are rarely represented.
In the study, surveys were sent to the mother or guardian of children aged 0-14 who tested positive for Covid-19 between January 2020 and July 2021.
In total, responses were received for nearly 11,000 children who tested positive for Covid-19 and who were matched by age and gender with more than 33,000 children who had not tested positive for Covid-19.
The surveys asked participants about 23 of the most common symptoms of prolonged Covid in children and used the World Health Organization’s definition of prolonged Covid as symptoms lasting more than two months.
The most common symptoms reported in children aged 0 to 3 years were mood swings, rashes, and stomach pain.
Between 4-11 years, the most common symptoms were mood swings, difficulty remembering or concentrating, rashes, and between 12-14 years, fatigue, mood swings, and difficulty remembering or concentrating.
Study results found that children diagnosed with Covid-19 in all age groups were more likely to have at least one symptom for two months or more than a control group.
In the 0-3 year age group, 40% of children infected with COVID-19 (478 out of 1,194 children) had symptoms for longer than 2 months, compared to 27% of controls (1,049 of 3,855 children).
For the age group 4-11 years, the proportion was 38 percent of cases (1,912 of 5,023 children) compared to 34 percent of control cases (6,189 of 18,372 children), and for the age group 12-14 years, 46 percent of cases (1,313 of 2,857 children) compared to 41 percent of the control group (4,454 of 10,789 children) had long-term symptoms.
Healthy children often have the types of non-specific symptoms associated with prolonged COVID-19 disease. Headaches, mood swings, abdominal pain and fatigue are all symptoms of common illnesses that children suffer that have nothing to do with Covid-19.
However, the study revealed that children with a positive diagnosis of Covid-19 were more likely to develop long-term symptoms than children who had not previously had a positive diagnosis, indicating that these symptoms were a symptom of Covid for a long time.
This is supported by nearly a third of children with positive Covid-19 tests who have symptoms that were not present prior to SARS-CoV-2 infection, the researchers said.
In addition, as the duration of symptoms increases, the proportion of children with these symptoms tends to decrease.
In general, children diagnosed with Covid-19 reported fewer psychosocial problems than children in the control group, they said.
According to the researchers, in the older age groups, subjects often felt less fearful, had fewer problems sleeping, and felt less anxious about what would happen to them.
They added that a possible explanation for this is the increased epidemiological awareness in older age groups, as children in the control group suffer from fear of unknown disease and restriction of daily life due to protecting themselves from infection with the virus.
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