Early symptoms in children that may be affected with Covid-19 could be fever, along with gastrointestinal symptoms.
A recent study published in ‘Frontiers in Paediatrics’ shows that if children exposed to corona virus show signs of diarrhea along with fever must be suspected of being infected with the pandemic causing Covid-19 disease..
The same research also reveals that the gastrointestinal symptoms first experienced by some children show that the infection has probably hit the digestive tract because the type of receptors present in the lungs cells attacked by the SARS CoV-2 is also found in the intestines.
An employee of Tongji Hospital, Wuhan, China, working in the Department of Paediatrics, and the author of this study, Dr. Wenbin Li, says that most children are not heavily affected by the Covid-19 virus. Some cases that are severe usually have an underlying health issue. It is not easy to diagnose the infection at an early stage if the child doesn’t show any respiratory symptoms or suffers from a different illness.
According to their experience in handling cases of Covid-19 in areas where the virus is pandemic, all children that show symptoms of digestive tract and also have fever especially if they have been exposed to Covid-19 must be treated as a suspect of corona virus, he added.
Dr. Li along with his colleagues that participated in this research have listed down the clinical features of children that were hospitalized with non-respiratory symptoms and were soon after diagnosed with pneumonia and Covid-19.
The children were looking for medical advice in the department for emergencies for completely unrelated medical issues such as head trauma and another one had a stone in the kidney. All these children were tested positive for pneumonia after they went through a CT scan of their chest and immediately after were also confirmed positive for Covid-19 disease. Although the early symptoms were not related to the disease or were probably hidden before they were admitted in the hospital, 4 out of 5 children had symptoms of digestive tract as the initial display of Covid-19.
Dr. Li hopes that the doctors make use of this valuable information for immediate diagnosis and isolation of the patients that reveal similar symptoms. This will promote early treatment and lower the risk of transmission of Covid-19.
Researchers also connect the gastrointestinal symptoms seen in children with that of the adult patients as an added route of Covid-19 infection.
Dr. Li elucidates that the children suffering from the gastrointestinal symptoms could be connected with the distribution of receptors and the transmission route linked with this disease in the human body. The people are infected by the SARS CoV-2 through the ACE2 receptor found in specific cells present in lungs and intestines. This means that the disease can infect individuals through the respiratory tract through air droplets and through the digestive tract also by fecal-oral transmission or contact.
Even though there may be times when Covid-19 tests have revealed false positive readings, Dr. Li is sure that all the 5 children were infected with Covid-19. He also looks forward to more detailed research to warrant their findings.
Journal Reference: Xiaofang Cai, Yaoling Ma, Songbo Li, Yan Chen, Zhihui Rong, Wenbin Li. Clinical Characteristics of 5 COVID-19 Cases With Non-respiratory Symptoms as the First Manifestation in Children. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 2020; 8 DOI: 10.3389/fped.2020.00258