September 6, 2022 – Don’t Depend On A Runny nose.
A new study shows that young children with COVID-19 do not show symptoms at all, even when they have a high incidence of the virus.
Only 14% of adults tested positive SARSThey found that -CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, had no symptoms of the disease, compared to 37% of children up to 4 years old.
This raises the concern that parents, childcare providers, and nurseries may not see the level of infection in apparently healthy young children who have been exposed to COVID-19, lead author Ruth A. Caron, MD, and colleagues write in Open Journal of the American Medical Association.
The study involved 690 people from 175 households in Maryland who were closely followed between November 2020 and October 2021. Every week for 8 months, they completed online symptom checks and underwent a PCR test – which detects the presence of the virus that causes COVID-19 – taken with swabs the nose. Those who showed symptoms submitted more swabs for analysis.
What is different about our study? [compared with previous studies] It was the density of our group, and the fact that we [tested those who did not have COVID symptoms]Caron, MD, a pediatrician and professor in the department of international health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said in an interview. “The fact that we’ve been taking samples every week means we can catch those early infections.”
Caron said the study also stands out for its focus on young children. All families who participated in the study had at least one child up to 4 years of age, with 256 out of 690 people (37.1%) in this younger age group. The other subjects in the study were 100 children aged 5 to 17 (14.5%) and 334 adults aged 18 to 74 (48.4%).
The youngest was more likely to have no symptoms
By the end of the study, 51 people had tested positive for Corona Virus, including 14 people who did not show symptoms. A closer look showed that children aged 4 and younger who contracted COVID-19 were twice as likely to have no symptoms as infected adults (36.8% vs. 14.3%).
The relationship between symptoms and viral load — the amount of COVID virus in a person — also differed between adults and young children.
While adults with higher viral loads – indicating that they are more contagious – usually have more severe symptoms of COVID-19, this has not been the case with young children. This suggests that children with mild or no symptoms can still be highly contagious.
Caron says these findings should help parents and others make better decisions. She says that even if young children do not show symptoms, they should be tested for COVID-19 if they are exposed to others who have the disease. She recommends working on the results.
If a family is infected with the virus, and it is two years old [has no symptoms]And people think about visiting elderly grandparents…One should not assume that a two-year-old is not infected,” says Caron. “This child should be tested with other family members.”
It says testing should also be considered for young children exposed to COVID-19 in childcare facilities.
But other experts did not necessarily agree.
“I wonder if the effort was worth it,” says Dean Bloomberg, MD, professor and chair of the division of pediatric infectious diseases at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, California.
He notes that recent US Food and Drug Administration guidelines on COVID-19 testing call for three negative home antigen tests — which detect proteins, called antigens, from the virus that causes COVID-19 — to confirm a deficiency of the disease.
“It would take 4 days to do those tests,” he says. “So, there is a lot of testing. It’s a lot of log-keeping, it’s uncomfortable, it’s inconvenient to get tested, and I just wonder if it was worth the effort.”
Are the results still valid?
Bloomberg also questions whether the study, which was completed nearly a year ago, reflects the current situation pandemic natural views.
Although the experts interviewed had different opinions about the results, they shared similar views about vaccination.
“The most important thing parents can do is vaccinate their children, vaccinate them themselves, vaccinate everyone in the home and update all indicated doses,” Bloomberg says.
Caron notes that vaccination will be even more important in the coming months.
“Summer is ending; school has begun,” she says. “We will be in big groups inside again very soon. To keep young children safe, I think it is really important that they get vaccinated.”