A new study has revealed that the children, teenagers, and young adults are open to greater risks for complications from this disease than it was thought earlier.
The first study to explain the characteristics of extremely sick Covid-19 paediatric patients in North America, also reveals that children that have underlying health conditions are at a greater risk.
Chief of Department of Paediatrics division of population health, quality and implementation science at Rutgers University’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and professor and vice-chair for academic development the co-author of the study, Lawrence C Kleinman says, the notion that “Covid-19 is sparing of young people is just false.”
The kids that have chronic conditions can get very sick. Obesity also comes under this list of chronic conditions. However, it is significant to know that kids without any history of chronic illness are equally at risk. All parents must understand the graveness of this pandemic causing virus, he added.
48 children and adults were observed in this study, and they were newborn babies to young adults of 21 years of age. All of them were undergoing treatment for Covid-19 in the Paediatric Intensive Care Units (PICU) in the US and Canada in the months of March and April
80% of them were suffering from chronic underlying illnesses such as diabetes, immune suppression, chronic lung disease, seizures, and obesity. 40% of them needed a breathing tube and ventilator, 40% were dependant on technological support because of genetic anomalies or developmental delays, and 20% and more had experienced failure of atleast 2 or more organ systems because of the Covid-19 disease.
During the end of the study, about 33% kids were still in the hospital because of Covid-19 – one of them was on life support and 3 were on ventilator. In the 3 week course of this study, 2 children could not make it alive.
A pediatric intensivist and a part of this study, Hariprem Rajasekhar considers this study to offer a “baseline understanding” of the early disease encumbrance of Covid-19 amongst children.
The researchers say that the mortality rate for the PICU children (that were studied) was 4.2% as compared to the mortality rate of the adults admitted in the ICU, of the same hospitals, which was 62%. There were lesser occurrences of respiratory failure in children.
Kleinman also said that the New York doctors are finding this to be a new Covid-19 related syndrome in kids.
Even though this study has been ended, they will continue to collaborate with colleagues throughout the country to learn and get a deeper knowledge about medical complications with Covid-19. Kleinman gives examples of heart failure and Kawasaki disease-like condition (an illness where the blood vessels get inflamed) called pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome as complications.
Original Study DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2020.1948
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