Children only experience mild form of virus, European study finds

Henrietta Brewer
June 29, 2020

Some 92 children, most of whom were tested due to close contact with someone with coronavirus, had no symptoms at all. EClinicalMedicine, a journal of The Lancet, on June 26 published the results, which cover studies published between January 24 and May 14. The emerging pattern of the imaging findings pointed to airway inflammation, rapidly progressive pulmonary edema, coronary artery aneurysms and extensive abdominal inflammatory changes within the right iliac fossa in the children with post COVID-19 MIS-C.

While 19 per cent of the pediatric population with Covid-19 had no symptoms, 21 per cent exhibited patchy lesions on lung X-rays. "Furthermore, we summarize treatments that were administered and offer an initial glimpse of a handful of patients who met the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children".

Many children who get COVID-19 are likely to be asymptomatic, meaning they don't need medical care and might not even notice they are infected."Probably the most surprising feature of the study was the severe COVID-19 cases". Clayton says the most common are fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and fatigue.

"Those who have pre-existing health issues and children under one month of age were more likely to be admitted to intensive care". Those were found in 59 per cent and 56 per cent of the pediatric population.

In 233 individuals, a past medical history was noted, and among this group, 152 were children with compromised immune systems or who had underlying respiratory or cardiac disease.

Researchers led by a team at London's Great Ormond Street looked at 582 children aged from three days up to 18 years living in 25 European countries.

Only a quarter of the patients had pre-existing medical conditions, in contrast with adult studies where the proportion of patients with co-morbidities is typically much higher.

Laboratory measures that were consistently abnormal in pediatric COVID-19 patients included inflammatory markers such as creatine kinase, interleukin-6 and procalcitonin.

South Dakota state epidemiologist Joshua Clayton reports the state's first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a person under the age of 18. Their disease paralleled the extreme forms of COVID-19 seen in adults.

Kidney failure was seen in nine pediatric patients, liver failure also in nine and shock in 19.

"Our data show that severe COVID-19 can occur both in young children and in adolescents, and that a significant proportion of those patients require ICU support, frequently including mechanical ventilation", they write.

Clayton says areas like NY that saw increases in COVID-19 also saw increases in multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

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