Little is known about the risk factors for developing Long Covid after infection with corona. An international study has now been able to find indications of when children are at risk.
People with coronavirus can have symptoms for months. However, studies of Long Covid and its risk factors so far lack data and representative samples from the population. As part of an international study, US researchers have now found indications of when children with COVID-19 are at greater risk of continuing to experience symptoms months later. Duration of hospital stay, age, and severity of symptoms play a role.
Risk factors were studied in 3,500 children
In an international study, researchers from the University of Carolina interviewed parents and their children who had to go to the emergency room between March 2020 and January 2021 due to Corona. Those affected were questioned for two weeks after the visit and continued for up to three months afterward. Scientists observed 1,884 children with Covid and 1,701 children without Covid who went to hospital for other reasons. Study participants came from eight countries: Argentina, Canada, Costa Rica, Italy, Paraguay, Singapore, Spain and the United States. However, the majority came from the United States.
One in ten children is infected with the Long-Covid virus
The results indicate that several risk factors can predict which children with MERS will develop Long-CoVid within 90 days after infection. This includes four or more signs of illness in the initial stage of infection and a hospital stay of more than two days. Age also played a role. Persistent symptoms were more common in children 14 years of age and older.
About one in ten children (9.8 per cent) admitted to hospital with an infection reported having Long-CoV infection after three months. They often include fatigue, cough, and shortness of breath. Of children with COVID-19 sent home straight from the emergency room, 4.6 percent still had symptoms after 90 days.
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Long Covid or collateral damage?
Therefore, about 10 percent of children admitted to hospital with COVID-19 reported signs of long-CoV after 90 days. But at the same time, the study showed that children who were hospitalized for reasons other than Corona also had similar characteristics. About 5 percent of them still had fatigue, difficulty concentrating, or abdominal pain after three months.
According to the researchers, this will show that other factors in the context of the epidemic also play a role. For example, lockdown, isolation, and a lack of social contact can also have an impact on persistent symptoms. Study co-author Dr. Nathan Cooperman in the press release.
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Three risk factors for the long-term corona virus
However, the study shows which risk factors for Long Covid one should be particularly vigilant about. From a 48-hour hospital stay, from four symptoms at the onset of infection and from age 14, the likelihood of developing long-term symptoms increases. However, in the case of the latter, there is a possibility that older children can express their symptoms better than younger children. However, the results show “which children we should monitor closely while they recover after testing positive for Covid,” Cooperman concludes.