Although children suffer from coronavirus much less often than adults, the media is increasingly reporting deaths among minors. The main danger for children is an asymptomatic course of the disease, because of which parents do not seek medical help in time. Meanwhile, scientists have found that COVID-19 often causes not only SARS symptoms, but also gastrointestinal disorders in minors.
The incidence of coronavirus in children in countries with an unfavorable epidemiological situation is about 1%, the center for disease control and prevention of China reported.
Even though minors suffer from CAVID-19 less often than adults, children under three years of age are increasingly experiencing severe forms of the disease.
So, in the United States on March 29, it became known about the first case of death of an infant from a coronavirus. Later, China also reported the death of a 10-month-old child. In Europe, the youngest victim of the infection was a 14-year-old boy from Portugal, and in France, on March 25, a 16-year-old girl died from CAVID-19.
And although cases of fatal outcomes among minors are rare, the main danger is an asymptomatic course of the disease, because of which parents are not always able to understand in time that the child needs urgent medical care. So, a 16-year-old patient from France had only a slight cough because of the signs of the coronavirus. A week later, the girl died.
The Guangzhou Medical University, led by Sitang Gong, processed data on 745 children who had close contact with those infected with the coronavirus in two weeks before going to a doctor. It turned out that only 10 of the total number of minors were infected. The study reports that the age of sick children ranged from two months to 15 years.
However, most of the symptoms typical for acute respiratory diseases, they did not manifest. Three had no fever, and five had no cough. Only two people had a runny nose.
According to another Chinese study published in the journal Nature Medicine, the asymptomatic infection was observed in 15.8 % of 171 infected children. At the same time, most infected children were 6-10 years old – 33.9%, and the least children under one-year-old – 18.1 %.
The study showed that 41.6 % of minors had only General respiratory symptoms with an elevated body temperature of no more than 39°C, and only 28.7% had respiratory disorders.
Chinese scientists also managed to find out that the distinctive characteristic of children is a diarrheal syndrome.
A study published in American Pediatrics found that 94.2% of the 2,143 children examined had an asymptomatic or mild disease.
“112 (5.2%) children’s cases were severe and 13 (0.6%) critical. Severe and critical forms were more often diagnosed in children under 1 year of age,” the paper says.
The study also highlights that vomiting and diarrhea are common in children’s clinical picture. “In addition, even in the absence of typical complaints and clinical manifestations, children may show changes in the lungs characteristic of COVID-19 coronavirus infection,” it notes.
On March 30, infectious diseases Professor Karina Butler also told the Irish Times that gastrointestinal disorders are an important non-specific feature of coronavirus in children.
She urged parents to seek immediate medical attention if children experience difficulty breathing, reduced physical activity or reduced water use.