Long COVID-19 among children rare, study suggests

Among 1,734 children in the U.K. with a COVID-19 infection, less than 5 percent had symptoms that lasted four weeks or longer, suggesting long COVID-19 is rarer in children than adults,  according to research published Aug. 3 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health found

Researchers analyzed data from 1,734 COVID-19 patients between the ages of 5 and 17 who tested positive between Sept. 1 and Jan. 24. Parents or guardians of the patients self-reported symptom duration data to a mobile app, which researchers used for the analysis. 

Overall, children were sick for six days on average. Headache was the most commonly reported symptom, followed by fatigue. 

Findings also showed 77 of the patients, or 4.4 percent, experienced symptoms that lasted 28 days or longer. Just 25 of the children, or 1.8 percent, experienced symptoms for more than 56 days. Children aged 12-17 were more likely to experience lingering symptoms compared to younger children. 

"It is reassuring that the number of children experiencing long-lasting symptoms of COVID-19 is low," said Dr. Emma Duncan, lead study author and endocrinologist at King's College London. "Nevertheless, a small number of children do experience long illness with COVID-19, and our study validates the experiences of these children and their families." 

 

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