DURBAN – Sickness and diarrhoea should also be considered as early warning signs of Covid-19 in children, experts claim.
According to a new clinical report published in the journal Frontiers, digestive issues were the first symptom of Covid-19 for five children admitted to the emergency department in Wuhan, China.
The study found that none of the children experienced coughing or difficulty breathing, symptoms once thought to be ubiquitous in all patients with Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Dr Wenbin Li, who is the first author of the study, said: “In our report, four of the five patients had fever and cough during the course of the disease; four of the five cases had digestive tract symptoms as the first manifestation.”
Another study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics looked at 48 children in the United States who have required intensive care with Covid-19. Among other findings, the study found that 40 of 48 children had significant medical issues. These issues include so-called comorbidities; half of these were categorized as “medically complex,” meaning they were dependent on technological support, to begin with, as would be true of a child with a tracheostomy, for example. Other comorbidities included immunosuppression, usually connected to cancer treatment, obesity or diabetes.
“Some infants become critically ill, but in preschool and school-age children, we have been saying that Covid-19 tends to be very mild. Children with immunodeficiencies or children who have had chemotherapy are at higher risk for serious illness,” said Dr Adam Ratner.
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