Long COVID symptoms and duration in SARS-CoV-2 positive children - a nationwide cohort study.

Most children have a mild course of acute COVID-19. Only few mainly non-controlled studies with small sample size have evaluated long-term recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection in children. The aim of this study was to evaluate symptoms and duration of 'long COVID' in children. A nationwide cohort study of 37,522 children aged 0-17 years with RT-PCR verified SARS-CoV-2 infection (response rate 44.9%) and a control group of 78,037 children (response rate 21.3%). An electronic questionnaire was sent to all children from March 24th until May 9th, 2021. Symptoms lasting > 4 weeks were common among both SARS-CoV-2 children and controls. However, SARS-CoV-2 children aged 6-17 years reported symptoms more frequently than the control group (percent difference 0.8%). The most reported symptoms among pre-school children were fatigue Risk Difference (RD) 0.05 (CI 0.04-0.06), loss of smell RD 0.01 (CI 0.01-0.01), loss of taste RD 0.01 (CI 0.01-0.02) and muscle weakness RD 0.01 (CI 0.00-0.01). Among school children the most significant symptoms were loss of smell RD 0.12 (CI 0.12-0.13), loss of taste RD 0.10 (CI 0.09-0.10), fatigue RD 0.05 (CI 0.05-0.06), respiratory problems RD 0.03 (CI 0.03-0.04), dizziness RD 0.02 (CI 0.02-0.03), muscle weakness RD 0.02 (CI 0.01-0.02) and chest pain RD 0.01 (CI 0.01-0.01). Children in the control group experienced significantly more concentration difficulties, headache, muscle and joint pain, cough, nausea, diarrhea and fever than SARS-CoV-2 infected. In most children 'long COVID' symptoms resolved within 1-5 months. Long COVID in children is rare and mainly of short duration. • There are increasing reports on 'long COVID' in adults. • Only few studies have evaluated the long-term recovery from COVID-19 in children, and common for all studies is a small sample size (median number of children included 330), and most lack a control group. • 0.8% of SARS-CoV-2 positive children reported symptoms lasting >4 weeks ('long COVID'), when compared to a control group. • The most common 'long COVID' symptoms were fatigue, loss of smell and loss of taste, dizziness, muscle weakness, chest pain and respiratory problems. • These 'long COVID' symptoms cannot be assigned to psychological sequelae of social restrictions. • Symptoms such as concentration difficulties, headache, muscle- and joint pain as well as nausea are not 'long COVID' symptoms. • In most cases 'long COVID' symptoms resolve within 1-5 months.
Date: 10 Jan 2022
DOI: 10.1007/s00431-021-04345-z
Journal: European Journal of Pediatrics
Pubmed ID: 35000003
CORD UID: bz056ycy
ML/Curated Information
Viruses: SARS-CoV-2
Article Type(s): Research
Topics: Clinical Reports, Long Haul, Pediatrics