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Children and adolescents with COVID-19 were significantly more likely to develop rare but potentially serious conditions, including blood clots in their lung or veins, heart issues, kidney failure or type 1 diabetes compared to their peers without COVID, according to a new study.
“COVID-19 prevention strategies are critical to prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and subsequent illness, including post-COVID symptoms and conditions,” researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wrote in a new study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The team analyzed medical claim data on nearly 800,000 children under 18 years with COVID-19 and used demographics to match them to children without COVID. Patients were followed for 60-365 days. To compare how often certain conditions and symptoms occurred, they used hazard ratios in which a ratio of one indicates no difference between the groups.
The data showed the conditions with the highest hazard ratios were
- acute pulmonary embolism (2.01),
- myocarditis and cardiomyopathy (1.99),
- venous thromboembolic event (1.87),
- acute and unspecified renal failure (1.32) and
- type 1 diabetes (1.23).
Authors noted these conditions were rare or uncommon. The COVID group also was more likely to have smell and taste disturbances, circulatory symptoms, malaise/fatigue and musculoskeletal pain.
The group without COVID was more likely to have respiratory symptoms, symptoms of mental conditions, muscle disorders, neurological conditions, anxiety/fear-related disorders, mood disorders and sleeping disorders. Authors said these children, who were pulled from a cohort with a health care visit, may have been unhealthier at baseline.
This difference in health care status at baseline was a potential limitation of the study along with potential misclassification of conditions or COVID status, no adjustment for receipt of a COVID vaccine and high enrollment from Medicaid managed care patients.
In a separate study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, eight pediatric hospitals responding to a survey found increased rates of intracranial bacterial infections during the pandemic. The CDC said it is looking into whether there is an actual increase and what might be causing it.
- Information from the CDC on post-COVID conditions
- CDC clinical considerations for administering COVID-19 vaccines
- Information from the CDC on COVID-19 vaccination of children and teens
- AAP COVID vaccination resources
- AAP pediatric COVID-19 vaccine dosing quick reference guide
- AAP/Health and Human Services COVID vaccine toolkit
- Information from HealthyChildren.org on preparing children for a COVID-19 vaccine