Dutch hospitals researching long-term effect of Covid-19 in children
Pediatric lung doctors from three hospitals in the Netherlands intend to investigate the long-term health implications of Covid-19 in children.
It is known that some adults who attract the virus suffer from symptoms months after the initial diagnosis. These can range from mild to severe. The long-term effect on children is, however, less well known. Researchers from three hospitals, the Emma Children’s Hospital, the Erasmus MC-Sophia, and the Maastricht UMC, will study the implications for children.
Based on what Dutch pediatricians have found so far, they are not too concerned. Long-term health damage from coronavirus in children seems rare. The study will examine 120 children who were hospitalized for Covid-19 since February. This mainly concerns children between ages zero to two.
The vast majority of children who get infected stay at home to recover. For example, in the past two weeks, 1,123 children aged between zero and nine and 12,717 teenagers tested positive. Among them, only 14 were admitted to a hospital.
No research has been conducted on those children who stay at home. The aim is to find out whether there might be lasting after-effects. “Based on what we see in practice, we are not very concerned. As far as we now know, only one single patient had lasting consequences,” says Caroline Brackel, a pediatric lung specialist.
Internationally too, little is known about the long-term effects of the virus in children. Swedish pediatrician, Jonas Ludvigsson, studied around 200 children who attracted the virus. Among the children, only five showed symptoms months after they were infected.
He reports that these five children still had complaints six to eight months after their diagnosis, similar to adults. They were still suffering from fatigue and were not able to fully return to school.
In addition to long-term damage, the researchers also want to study the immune response in children.