Comparative study showed that children faced a 78% higher risk of new-onset conditions after they had COVID-19

The study titled “Comparative study showed that children faced a 78% higher risk of new-onset conditions after they had COVID-19,” published in Acta Paediatrica in 2023, provides significant insights into the impact of COVID-19 on children.

Here’s a detailed summary:

Background and Methods

  • The study aimed to understand the incidence of new health conditions in children post-COVID-19 infection.
  • It was a retrospective nested cohort study involving children aged 0–14 years, using data from the Italian Pedianet database linked to Veneto Region registries.
  • The study compared 1656 COVID-19 positive children (exposed group) with an equal number of COVID-19 negative children (unexposed group), matching them 1:1 based on various factors.

Key Findings

  • The study spanned from February 2020 to November 2021 and revealed that exposed children had a 78% higher risk of developing new conditions than unexposed children.
  • Significantly higher risks were observed in the exposed group for mental health issues and neurological problems.
  • The incidence rates (IR) for new conditions post-COVID-19 showed a decreasing trend over time. Notably, neurological conditions had the highest IR among exposed children, followed by mental health conditions.
  • Overall, 8% of the children (both exposed and unexposed) developed at least one new onset condition. The conditions varied, including mental health disorders, neurological disorders, and others like taste and smell alterations, skin rashes, respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, and metabolic conditions.

Strengths and Limitations

  • The study’s strengths include its matched-cohort design and rigorous data extraction methods, ensuring accurate identification of new-onset conditions post-COVID-19.
  • Limitations include the use of a regional electronic healthcare record database, leading to a relatively small sample size and potential exposure misclassification. Additionally, the study did not assess the impact of new symptoms on children’s daily lives or the potential influence of respiratory viral co-infections.


  • The study underscores the increased risk of developing new health conditions post-COVID-19 in children, highlighting the need for further research, especially considering the Omicron variant and COVID-19 vaccinations​​​​.

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