Sydney: Long Covid symptoms rarely persist beyond 12 weeks in children and adolescents unlike adults, suggests a review.
The review, published in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, analysed 14 international studies involving 19,426 children and adolescents who reported persistent symptoms following Covid-19.
The findings showed that long covid among children is less common than feared.
The most common symptoms reported four to 12 weeks after acute infection were headache, fatigue, sleep disturbance, concentration difficultiesAand abdominal pain.
“It is reassuring that there was little evidence that symptoms persisted longer than 12 weeks suggesting long Covid might be less of a concern in children and adolescents than in adults,” Nigel Curtis, Professor at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI) in Melbourne, Australia.
A recent study, led by University College London and Public Health England researchers, showed that up to one in seven children and young people who caught SARS-CoV-2 may have symptoms linked to the virus about three months later.
Another study published in the journal Lancet Child and Adolescent Health in August, noted that most children with Covid recover within a week, only a small percentage had long-term symptoms.
The study, by researchers at King’s College London, showed that less than one in 20 children with symptomatic Covid-19 experienced symptoms lasting longer than four weeks, and almost all children have fully recovered by eight weeks.
However, the existing studies on long Covid in children have not pointed to long lasting symptoms unlike adults. The most common symptoms reported in children have been headaches, tiredness (fatigue), a sore throat, and loss of smell (anosmia).
Reassuringly, there have been no reports of serious neurological symptoms such as fits or seizures, impaired concentration or attention, or anxiety.
Yet more studies are required to investigate the risk and impact of long Covid in young people to help guide vaccine policy decisions, said Curtis.
“The low risk posed by acute disease means that one of the key benefits of Covid vaccination of children and adolescents might be to protect them from long Covid,” he said. “An accurate determination of the risk of long Covid in this age group is therefore crucial in the debate about the risks and benefits of vaccination.”
Many countries, including the US, Canada, Denmark, Spain, France have rolled out Covid vaccinations for children aged 12 and above.