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New Health Problems Post-COVID-19 Also Seen in Children, Teens

Common symptoms developing three or more months after COVID-19 infection differ between adults and children/adolescents

MONDAY, Nov. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Similar to adults, children and adolescents who have previously had COVID-19 also are at risk for post-COVID-19 syndrome, and the most common symptoms may differ by age group, according to a study published online Nov. 10 in PLOS Medicine.

Martin Roessler, from University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus in Dresden, Germany, and colleagues used routine data from German statutory health insurance organizations (Jan. 1, 2019, to Dec. 31, 2020) to assess post-COVID-19-associated morbidity in children/adolescents and adults. The analysis included 11,950 children/adolescents and 145,184 adults with COVID-19 cases matched (1:5) to controls.

The researchers found that in the COVID-19 cohort, incidence rates were significantly higher in all 13 diagnosis/symptom complexes in adults and in 10 diagnosis/symptom complexes in children/adolescents. In children and adolescents, the outcomes with the highest incidence included malaise/fatigue/exhaustion (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 2.28), cough (IRR, 1.74), and throat/chest pain (IRR, 1.72). For adults, the symptoms with the highest incidence included disturbances of smell and taste (IRR, 6.69), fever (IRR, 3.33), and dyspnea (IRR, 2.88). For all health outcomes combined, incidence rates in the COVID-19 cohorts were significantly higher versus control cohorts in both children/adolescents (IRR, 1.30) and adults (IRR, 1.33).

“The results of the present study indicate that post-COVID-19 syndrome cannot be dismissed among children and adolescents,” the authors write. “We found that COVID-19 diagnosis was associated with higher long-term demand for health care services as reflected in outpatient and inpatient diagnoses of a broad set of outcomes more than three months after confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection.”

Two authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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