Deaths among children due to the COVID-19 are extremely rare, and only occur in less than 1 % of the cases, as the disease remains in them essentially benign, confirms an international study in europe.
82 health facilities that participated in this first european study with children and adolescents (aged from 3 days to less than 18 years of age), published in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
Led by experts from Great Britain, Austria and Spain, the study shows that out of the nearly 600 children under the age of 18 years, infected by the new coronavirus, only a quarter had pre-existing medical conditions.
This contrast, while the proportion of adults with co-morbidities (diseases) is generally much higher in the studies, are the authors.
On the 582 patients studied, a positive virologic test (RT-PCR), only four have died, all older than 10 years, two of which were suffering from preexisting medical conditions.
A small but notable has developed a serious illness requiring treatment in the intensive care unit (8 %, or 48/582 case) ; but the study based on the hospital would not have included the mild cases, who 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 much lower than that observed in the study, notes the journal.
“Children in whom viruses were detected in the airways at the same time that the SARS-CoV-2 were more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit. This could have important implications for the next winter season, when the infections by the common cold and the flu will be most common, ” notes one of the main authors, Dr. Begoña Santiago Garcia of the university hospital Gregorio Marañón in Madrid.
For his part, Marc Tebruegge of Great Ormond Street’s Institute of Child Health, University College London judge the results reassuring.
“The case fatality rate in our cohort (child, editor’s NOTE) was very low ; it should still be much lower, given that many children with mild disease would not have been brought to the attention of a physician and were therefore not included in this study,” says this co-author.
“Overall, the vast majority of children and young people suffer only a mild illness “, he insists.