STATEN ISLAND, NY – Younger children who contract COVID-19 may experience long-lasting symptoms, according to a new study that broadens the scope of the persistent disorder that has plagued some survivors of the disease.
Research, published On Wednesday in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health magazine, about 44,000 Danish children under the age of 14 were included. About 11,000 of these participants tested positive for the coronavirus between early 2020 and mid-2021.
The study used a survey that assessed the presence of 23 long-standing COVID symptoms after diagnosis and found that children who previously had a bout with the disease were more likely to report at least one persistent symptom that lasted more than two. months.
The younger group – children 3 years of age and younger – saw 40% of those with a previous experience of diagnosing COVID-19 continuing problems, compared with 27% in the control group. The most common symptoms were skin rashes, stomach pain, mood swings, loss of appetite and coughing, the study said.
For the age group 4 to 11, just over 38% of COVID-19 positive children had at least one persistent symptom, which was about 4% more than the cohort of non-positive participants. Memory or concentration problems were among the most common problems.
The oldest cohort included in the study, ages 12-14, saw an almost 5% increase in persistent symptoms compared to its control group, with fatigue, mood swings and memory problems the most common. . A total of 46% of children in this age group had a symptom that lasted more than 60 days.
The high number of children suffering from neurological problems, even without a positive test, guarantees continued attention to the immeasurable impact the pandemic has had on younger age groups.
“Symptom burden among children in the control group requires attention,” the study authors wrote. “The long COVID needs to be recognized and the lengthy multidisciplinary COVID clinics for children could be helpful.”
A myriad of factors, including the worldwide lack of approved vaccines for children under the age of 4, low vaccine consumption among children in general, and the limited efficacy of the omicron variant vaccine, have made the children particularly susceptible to infection, the researchers said.
Vaccines for children 5 years of age and younger have recently been approved in the United States.
The study’s findings add to a growing body of evidence showing the long-term effects of a disease that has killed more than six million people worldwide.
A recent analysis found that long-term neurological problems lasted for more than a year in some patients, while another study found that three-quarters of people with long-term COVID symptoms were not initially hospitalized for the disease.
While children are not normally that susceptible to the initial inflictions of the disease, the latest study sheds light on the potential problems they may suffer long after a diagnosis.
The research did not include information regarding hospitalization, limiting her ability to assess whether children with more severe initial symptoms were affected more significantly in the long term.