Children seem to be largely spared from the life-threatening complications of Covid-19, but they might be silently spreading the virus, doctors in China found.
Detailed analysis of 36 pediatric cases in China’s Zhejiang province found that the pandemic-causing coronavirus had little effect on their upper airways. Although fever, cough and pneumonia were the most common symptoms, about half the children had mild disease with no obvious signs, researchers said Wednesday in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
Although small in scope, the Lancet study from China, where the virus originated, may be the most comprehensive analysis yet of pediatric patients with Covid-19, according to the authors. The findings suggest that infected children showing no clinical signs of disease are both difficult, and important, to find and isolate to stop the pandemic spreading.
The children, ages 1 to 16, were treated in the hospital for about two weeks with at least one antiviral drug. All patients, including so-called asymptomatic ones, took an average of 10 days to test negative for the coronavirus.
“The proportion of asymptomatic cases indicates the difficulty in identifying pediatric patients without clear epidemiological information,” Haiyan Qiu and colleagues wrote. “This finding suggests a dangerous situation if community acquired infections occur.”