Prevalence of COVID-19 symptoms among high-risk children – ScienceDaily

Children with weakened immune systems have not shown a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection, despite common symptoms, new research suggests.

During the 16-week period that included the first wave of the pandemic, researchers in Southampton conducted an observational study on nearly 1,500 immunocompromised children – which was defined as the need for annual flu shots due to basic conditions or medications. Children, their parents, or caregivers filled out weekly questionnaires to provide information about all the symptoms they experienced, the results of the COVID-19 test, and the impact of the pandemic on their daily lives.

Results published in BMJ Open, showed that symptoms of COVID-19 infection were common in many children – with more than two-thirds of participants reporting at least one symptom and one-third having three or more symptoms at the same time. One hundred and ten patients with symptoms underwent viral PCR tests, none of which were positive.

Dr Hans de Graaf of the University of Southampton who led the study said: “Although we cannot be sure of the prevalence of COVID-19 among the children who participated, the testing was only done when patients were admitted and these children were told to adhere to strict protective measures, we can assume that any infection would be a milder case, as none of these high-risk patients needed hospital admission. “

More than half of the patients or parents reported high levels of anxiety at the beginning of the study and despite the absence of serious symptoms, these results remained consistently high throughout the study period.

The researchers believe that these results indicate that widespread screening of symptoms for early detection of COVID-19 will not be helpful in these cases because children may have frequent upper respiratory tract symptoms that are unlikely to be related to COVID-19.

Dr de Graaf continued: “This study is the first to look at the impact of a pandemic on children with compromised immune systems. During the first wave of the pandemic, many may have protected, so our results suggest that protection measures were effective or that immunocompromised children were less affected. 19 of adults, just like healthy children. “

The report also concludes that the continuing high level of anxiety among participants emphasizes the need to clearly define and communicate the risks of COVID-19 in children and adolescents, especially as locking restrictions are eased.

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Material provided University of Southampton. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.