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Most Children With COVID-19 Show Untypical Symptoms

Many patients in the study showed symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain and a rash.

A recent study conducted by investigators from the University of Alabama at Birmingham has discovered that a majority of children who become infected with COVID-19 may not display symptoms that are most typically associated with the disease, like fever, cough or shortness of breath.

Results from the study were published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

“During this study, we found that a majority of the population did not show any of the typical symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough and shortness of breath,” Vibhu Parcha a lead author on the study said. “While the rates of poor clinical outcomes are relatively lower in children when compared to adults, 5-6 percent still required hospitalization. Among those hospitalized, 18 percent required critical care and 4 percent needed a ventilator for breathing.”

For the study, the team of investigators analyzed data of nearly 12,000 pediatric cases of COVID-19 from a research network database called TriNetX.

Findings form the study showed that 18.8% of the study population had symptoms such as malaise, muscle or joint pain and loss of smell or taste. Gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea showed in 13.9% of the children and 8.1% developed dermatological symptoms such as a rash.

Additionally, 5.5% of the children included in the study required hospitalization, with 17.6% needing critical care services and 4.1% needing mechanical ventilation.

The investigators also noted that Black and Hispanic children high a higher risk of hospitalization when compare to white children.

“A key takeaway from this study is children with COVID-19 require enhanced screening and preventive measures that include low threshold for screening, ease of access to testing facilities and vaccination of eligible teenagers,” Pankaj Arora, a senior author on the study said. “The racial disparities in health care were also evident in the higher risk of hospitalization among children from underserved minority populations. As vaccinations become available to teenagers, we need to ensure that we make the vaccine available to all eligible children, especially those from minority populations and high-risk households.”