AFP, published on Friday June 26, 2020 at 1:45 p.m.
Deaths in children from Covid-19 are extremely rare and occur in less than 1% of cases, as the disease remains mostly mild in them, confirms an international European study.
82 health establishments participated in this first European study of children and adolescents (aged three days to less than 18 years), published in the specialized journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
Led by experts from Britain, Austria and Spain, the study shows that of the nearly 600 children under the age of 18 infected with the new coronavirus, only a quarter had pre-existing medical problems.
This is low compared to the proportion of adults with co-morbidities (pathologies), generally much higher in studies, note the authors.
Of the 582 patients studied, positive for the virological test (RT-PCR), only four died, all aged over 10 years, two of whom suffered from pre-existing medical problems.
A small but notable proportion developed a serious illness requiring treatment in intensive care (8%, or 48 cases out of 582). The study, based on hospital figures, does not include mild cases, which did not need help or a doctor.
In contrast, more than 90 children, or 16%, had no symptoms.
The true case fatality rate in children is likely to be significantly lower than that observed in the study, notes the review.
“Children in whom additional viruses were detected in the respiratory tract along with SARS-CoV-2 were more likely to be admitted to intensive care. This could have important implications for the next winter season, when Cold and flu infections will be more common, “notes one of the main authors, Dr. Begoña Santiago Garcia, from the Gregorio Marañón University Hospital in Madrid.
For his part, Marc Tebruegge of the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health at University College London judges the results reassuring.
“The fatality rate in our cohort (of children, editor’s note) was very low; it should be much lower, given that many children with mild illness would not have been brought to the attention of ‘a doctor and would therefore not be included in this study “, comments this co-author.
“Overall, the vast majority of children and young people only suffer from a mild illness,” he insists.