Scientists from the United States studied 192 children infected with the coronavirus and found that this age group is the most dangerous vector. Infected children have significantly higher levels of the virus in the respiratory tract than adults, according to the Journal of Pediatrics article.
“I was surprised by the high levels of the virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection. I didn’t expect kids’ viral loads to be that high. You think about the hospital and all the precautions taken to treat critically ill adults, but the viral load of these hospitalized patients is significantly lower than that of a healthy child who is doing well”.
Name Lael Jonker, MD, Director of the MGH Cystic Fibrosis Center and Lead Author of the Pediatrics Study
Note that transmission or risk of infecting another person will be higher with a high viral load. And even when children show typical symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, runny nose, and cough, they often coincide with common childhood illnesses, including the flu and the common cold. This makes it difficult to make an accurate diagnosis.
The study involved 192 children aged 0 to 22 years, 49 children tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and another 18 children have already had COVID-19.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we mainly examined people with severe symptoms, so we came to the mistaken conclusion that the vast majority of those infected are adults,” says Alessio Fasano, MD, director of the MGH Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center and senior the author of the manuscript. However, our results show that children are also vulnerable to this virus. We must not discount them as potential distributors of the virus.
The researchers note that while children with COVID-19 do not carry the disease as seriously as adults, they can spread the infection and bring the virus into their homes.