Israeli survey finds 1 in 10 children have long COVID

pharmafile | September 14, 2021 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development  

An Israeli Health Ministry survey has found that one in ten children have lingering COVID-19 symptoms after contracting and recovering from the virus.

The survey was carried out via phone in June among 13,834 parents of children aged 3-18 who had recovered from COVID-19, asking if their children had lingering symptoms, including breathing issues, lethargy and loss of smell and taste.

The Ministry said 11.2% of children had some symptoms after recovery. The figure declined to 1.8%-4.6% at six months from acute disease, with older children suffering more.

Severe illness from the novel coronavirus is most common among adults, but there is a lack of data on the virus’ impact on youths, who are far less prone to serious complications, the Ministry said.

However, the Israeli Ministry did not make mention of vaccines or their impact. The survey was conducted around the time 12-15-year-old Israelis were just becoming eligible to be vaccinated. Israel allowed 16-18-year-olds to get the vaccination months earlier.

A recent British survey has found that as many as one in seven children may have symptoms linked to the coronavirus months after testing positive for COVID-19, and in August the ONS released data showing over 34,000 children had long COVID.

The ONS estimates also suggested that 380,000 people in the UK have experienced long COVID for at least a year. This figure is based on responses collected from people in private households in the four weeks to 4 July, extrapolated to the rest of the population.

Overall, a total of 945,000 people are thought to be suffering from the syndrome.

There is no universally agreed definition of long COVID, but it covers a broad range of symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, and difficulty concentrating.

Separate research from King’s College London suggested that children who catch COVID-19 and develop symptoms typically recover within a week.

The study, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health journal, looked at 1,734 children who tested positive for COVID-19 close to the onset of symptoms.

A minority – 77 children – continued to experience illness after a month, while fewer than 2% were still struggling with symptoms beyond eight weeks.

Recent studies have varied considerably in their assessment of the scale and severity of long COVID among children, pointing to the complexities and limited understanding of the syndrome.

Kat Jenkins

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