According to the world’s most extensive study of hospital patients with COVID-19, children and teenagers are less likely than adults to develop severe COVID-19 or die from the disease. Children raise the risk of being admitted into intensive care if they are obese, have black ethnicity, and are under one month old.
The study has identified new symptoms in children that significantly increase the risk of children with COVID-19 needing intensive care due to severe inflammation syndrome.
Researchers are asking for the WHO’s definition of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) to be updated to help doctors recognize more children with the condition and improve their treatment.
This study is led by ISARIC4C—a global group of clinicians working to prevent death from respiratory disease and consisted of 138 hospitals across England, Wales, and Scotland.
Findings of the Study
The findings observed that it is a rare occurrence for young people to end up in the hospital with COVID-19. In the ISARIC study, they make up less than one percent of participants.
Compared with adult deaths, the number of children and young people who died from COVID-19 during the study was relatively low—six in total.
Approximately 18 percent of hospitalized children and young people were admitted to intensive care. Experts say children who are at risk of needing intensive care were usually those under one month old and those aged 10 to 14 years old. Besides, obesity and Black ethnicity were also found to be risk factors that are similar in adults’ case.
The researchers found that children having MIS-C an inflammatory syndrome were five times more likely to be admitted to intensive care. The symptoms usually seen in those with MIS-C include rash or gastrointestinal problems such as abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and conjunctivitis.
There were some new Covid-19 symptoms in children, such as headaches, muscle aches, tiredness, and a sore throat.
The study also found that the number of platelets was much lower in the blood of children with MIS-C than in those without the condition.
Professor Calum Semple, Professor in Child Health and Outbreak Medicine and Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at the University of Liverpool, said: “The diligent work of our colleagues working in Child Health and the NIHR Clinical Research Network across the UK has led to this report which is the largest and most detailed description of COVID-19 and MIS-C in children and young people. We have provided a new understanding about MIS-C, which will help manage this rare but serious condition, but parents can now be reassured that severe COVID-19 is very rare in children.”