Post–COVID-19 Condition in Children
The study titled “Post–COVID-19 Condition in Children” provides an in-depth analysis of the incidence and characteristics of Post-COVID-19 Condition (PCC) or long COVID in school-aged children.
Here’s a detailed summary:
- Objective: To explore the incidence of Post-COVID-19 Condition (PCC) among school-aged children and investigate the relationship between pre-COVID-19 symptoms and the likelihood of developing PCC.
- Definition of PCC: The World Health Organization defines PCC as the continuation or development of new symptoms 3 months after the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection, with symptoms persisting for at least 2 months without any other explanation. These symptoms must affect everyday functioning. The prevalence of PCC in children is reported to range from 1% to 70% in different study samples.
- Participants: Parents and children aged 8-13 years in Alberta, Canada, were recruited for a longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 serological study. The study involved the collection of children’s symptoms every 2 weeks over a duration of 76 weeks.
- PCC Criteria: A child was considered to have PCC if they had a positive PCR test result for SARS-CoV-2 infection, new symptoms starting within 3 months following a positive PCR result, and these symptoms persisting for at least 8 weeks. Kaplan-Meier survival analyses and Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to examine the association between symptoms before COVID-19 and the resolution of symptoms after COVID-19.
- Incidence of PCC: Out of 1026 children recruited, only 1 child (0.4%) met the WHO PCC definition after exclusions. This low incidence suggests that PCC might not be as prevalent in children as previously thought.
- Symptom Resolution: Children were 77% less likely to have symptom resolution after COVID-19 if they had symptoms reported every 2 weeks prior to infection. This indicates that children with more frequently reported symptoms before COVID-19 were indeed more likely to develop PCC.
- Common Post-COVID-19 Symptoms: The most common symptoms post-COVID-19 included rhinitis, sore throat, headache, cough, fever, and fatigue. Each of these symptoms resolved within 10 weeks following a positive PCR test result.
Conclusions and Implications: The study’s findings highlight the relatively low incidence of PCC among school-aged children, with most children experiencing a resolution of symptoms within a short period post-infection. However, the presence of symptoms prior to COVID-19 infection was significantly associated with delayed resolution of symptoms post-COVID-19. The study emphasizes the importance of considering pre-COVID-19 health conditions and symptoms when evaluating and managing PCC in children. Further research into the neurobehavioral sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection in school-aged children is recommended, considering the study’s limitations, such as dependency on parent-proxy symptom reporting and the narrow age range of participants.