Children develop undetectable symptoms of Covid-19: Study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on August 29, 2020

File photo   -  K.V.S. Giri

The researchers speculated that 70 per cent of children demonstrate symptoms that are not detectable

A recent study by researchers from South Korea has shown that children may tend to develop very mild symptoms of the novel coronavirus that are not detectable unless extensive tests are conducted to look for it.

The paper was published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The researchers speculated that 70 per cent of children demonstrate symptoms that are not detectable. And, doctors miss 93 per cent of such cases, if the focus is on symptomatic cases.

Jong-Hyun Kim of the Catholic University of Korea, Eun Hwa Choi of the Seoul National University College of Medicine, and colleagues reported that there’s “no other good alternative” to extensive testing for early detection of Covid-19 cases.

For the study, researchers examined 91 children under the age of 19 who were tested positive for the virus and were isolated or hospitalised across 22 centres in South Korea between February and March.

Among those with upper respiratory tract infection, the coronavirus was detected for an average of 18.7 days. Those with lower respiratory tract infection were positive for an average of 19.9 days, the researchers observed.

Even among asymptomatic children, the virus was detectable for a mean of 14.1 days. The researchers found this “alarming.”

However, the researchers could not anticipate whether the virus was present in the children or it was just the non-contagious viral debris.

The former would indicate “the transmission potential of SARS-CoV-2 in children and its effect on the community might be greater than expected,” they mentioned.

Among the 91 children: 22 per cent were asymptomatic, 41 per cent had a cough, 30 per cent had fever over 38 degrees Celsius, 29 per cent had a sore throat, 27 per cent had a runny nose, 12 per cent had diarrhoea,12 per cent lost the sense of taste, 51 per cent had “mild” disease, 22 per cent had “moderate” disease, and 2 per cent had “severe” disease. However, none required intensive care.

Published on August 29, 2020

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