coronavirus risk to babies

  • 9 min read
  • Des 09, 2019

Severe Coronavirus Risk Higher In Babies, Lower In Kids, Study Finds
Severe Coronavirus Risk Higher In Babies, Lower In Kids, Study Finds

Children can spread the virus to more vulnerable adults, and babies may face a higher risk of serious illness.

Children and young people are susceptible to it, but Covid-19 appears to be less severe in children than in some older adults, and scientists are not sure why.

This age disparity severe cases has become an important question as scientists race to slow the spread of the virus. Some clues to this mystery began to emerge, and the answers can help build the kind of exactly what infection control measures are effective, as well as point the way toward treatments.

“We know that children tend to have infections that are lighter, have a milder disease, but we have seen [at least one child] die from this infection,” Maria Van Kerkhove, who Covid-19 technical lead in the World Health Organization, said in a press conference on March 16. “we can not say universally that it was mild in children, so it is important that we protect children as a vulnerable population.”

In the United States, doctors say they have seen mild symptoms – such as fever and dry cough -. In children among those who had sought treatment among adults

“In our hospital, Seattle Children’s, we were a little further in a pandemic; we do not see serious illness in children, “said Janet Englund, a professor of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Washington Seattle and doctors at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “For us, it is relatively indistinguishable from the flu, but we can not tell unless we test, we can do here.”

At this time, the data on this 19th Covid effect on young people is rare, but recent studies have shown that even with children, some groups are more vulnerable than others depending on the age and health condition. Some children with Covid-19 could still be experiencing a serious lung disease. Children with respiratory tract infections simultaneously be more susceptible to Covid-19. Infant without adult immune system can get sick from the virus. However, compared with adults, Covid-19 appears to be less severe in most children.

“I think it is clear that the children were not seriously affected as,” Englund said.

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The twist is that even if they do not get very sick, young people infected with the virus can transmit it. And special attention is that they spread out to someone who may be immunocompromised or high risk. That means the epidemic control measures – on to – just as important for the young and healthy as they are for people who are older or sick.

The countries that have experienced a wider outbreak of Covid-19, including China and Italy, have seen the worst, with the number of people hospitalized and killed by the disease increases with age. Underlying health problems such as high blood pressure, immune system depression, and diabetes also have aggravated the results between infected.

However, a small percentage of young people, from babies to young adults, also suffered serious injuries.

A study published in February in more than 72,000 people infected in China showed that only 2 percent of the infected in the sample were under the age of 19. Similarly, in February of the WHO mission to China shows that only 2.4 percent of the infected aged 18 years or younger. Out of young people infected, 2.5 percent suffer severe disease and 0.2 percent suffer from a critical illness.

But the WHO also reported noted that “it is impossible to determine the rate of infection among children, what is the role of children’s play in the transmission, whether the children are less susceptible or if they present different clinical (ie generally milder presentation). ” That said some of the children being tested for the virus, so it is still not a lot of good information about how many children are infected overall. And from there, it is difficult to measure the level of severe disease for the young.

The other element is that Covid-19 seems to play differently in children compared to what health officials have seen with other infections, such as influenza.

Influenza, also caused by a virus that infects the airways, can be a very serious illness in children. Complications from influenza, such as the following bacterial pneumonia, can be fatal. According, since September, there were 144 children in the US die from influenza in the current season as of March 7. Meanwhile, there have been no reported deaths from the 19th Covid among children in the United States so far.

“Everything we know about other viral infections would suggest that children are at higher risk” of infection, said Bria Coates, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Northwestern University and a doctor are present in the House Hospitals Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children of Chicago. “They do not tend to wash their hands properly. They do not give each other space. ” Which makes a lower prevalence of severe disease to Covid-19 among children all the more remarkable.

Why disease varies so much between age groups, especially in comparison with influenza, remains a mystery. “The reason why children are less affected than adults potentially a very interesting question,” said Steven Zeichner, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Virginia School of Medicine who studies infectious diseases. “I do not think anyone knows the answer.”

While children seem less likely to experience severe symptoms Covid-19 than adults, the risk is not zero. A study published March 16 in the journal more than 2,100 children in China found that children of all ages are susceptible to Covid-19, although the majority have mild symptoms, and some are not experienced at all. Warning for this study is that only a third of the children in the sample tested and confirmed to have the virus Covid-19 SARS-CoV-2. The rest is conjecture Covid-19 cases, which means there is a possibility that other pathogens may cause symptoms observed.

Zeichner, who co-authored about the findings, noting that the worst results in children are often in infants. The results showed that about 30 percent of childhood Covid-19 cases were considered “heavy” and more than half of Covid-19 cases were deemed “critical” among children aged less than 1 year. Although the overall number of small – 7 babies have a critical illness and 33 suffer from severe illness – it shows that young people face a higher likelihood of dangerous results.

It’s a higher risk for the baby because the baby may still build up their immune system. When a baby is born, he is still some resistance to infection in the form of antibodies from the mother. protection is reduced during the first few months of a baby’s life to build his own defense.

“The immune system in children is not weaker than adults,” said Coates. “On the contrary, they are not trained.”

However, for new viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, no mother can transmit immunity, because the mother will probably not have a chance to be infected with the new virus. There also exists now that can train a child’s immune system to fight the virus.

At the same time, babies are exposed to all kinds of environmental stimuli for the first time – bacteria, pollen, dust. To prevent their body from overreacting to things that are otherwise harmless, their immune reaction solidified. “In general, the baby’s immune system err on the side of a decrease in the response to infection,” said Coates.

The result is that babies, especially in the first year of their life, are more susceptible to dangerous complications of the infection. But during the first year, the adult baby’s immune system, to be more effective in combating diseases such as learning to identify threats.

Similarly, children who are immunocompromised or more cardiac, metabolic or respiratory problems are also at higher risk of complications from Covid-19, just as they would from any other infection.

On the other hand, there may be factors that reduce the risk to children. One hypothesis is that children face more frequent exposure to the virus associated with SARS-CoV-2 but much more dangerous, so they have a cross-reacting immune helped them fight.

“SARS-CoV-2 is a coronavirus, but it was far from the only one coronavirus that is out there, and a large fraction of the common cold [case] caused by another coronavirus,” says Zeichner. Children may be exposed to this virus more often than adults in schools and play groups, which can help their immune system to detect and combat new viruses.

Another hypothesis is that the immune system in children less likely to overreact to invaders, according to Coates. Many parents who are hospitalized by Covid-19 suffer from severe inflammation and fever, the immune response that ultimately caused more damage of the virus itself. With a lower risk of a severe immune response, children experience less severe symptoms.

Now this idea is only a hypothesis with little evidence to support them. But figuring out why Covid-19 play this way can yield dividends for everyone. “If you can figure out why children are protected, you can use that information to design a strategy for the adults to protect,” said Coates.

Preventing infection is the best way to protect everyone, regardless of age. Wash hands, for example, remains an important tactic for young and old alike to control the spread of the coronavirus.

But across the country, schools, colleges, offices, and sporting events have all been shut down to limit the spread of infection. Canceling the meeting is a key component of social distance, the practice of limiting the exposure of others to control the spread of the virus. Many schools have no scheduled dates to continue.

However ,, including for public health. Schools are also a major source of food for many students, and supervision they provide allows parents of children to go to work.

Some researchers also questioned the effectiveness of such measures in protecting children. “From the evidence that we see, we do not see the transmission in settings such as schools where we’ll worry about the amplification of transmission,” the WHO said Van Kerkhove.

As Vox has been reported, consistent guidelines for school closures also undermine their effectiveness:

the closure of schools under four weeks likely will not have a significant effect on the spread of the virus. In fact, the CDC is rather vague on whether the effective closure of the school at all, stating that the closure of 8 to 20 weeks may have some effect, but that other interventions such as handwashing and isolation more effectively ,.

However, other experts argue that now is the right time to pursue such drastic measures. “I think we are at the very beginning of [potential] problem increases exponentially, and if you want to get ahead of the problem increases exponentially, you must intervene early,” says Zeichner.

Coates agreed. “I think that closing the school is a very effective way to stop transmission of infectious diseases,” he said.

Experts also are divided to continue meeting the smaller of the children like.

Zeichner also emphasizes keeping children current with their vaccinations and make sure they get regular flu shots. While influenza vaccines can not prevent Covid-19 can prevent influenza, which in turn reduces the stress on the health care system, and family.

And if you suspect your child may be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the best thing to do is to call your doctor for advice. Seattle Children Englund said that parents should seek medical attention if they see their child having difficulty breathing – wheezing, persistent cough, shortness of breath, and difficulty speaking. “If the child has difficulty breathing, they certainly need to be seen urgently,” he said.

But in the end, some degree of exposure can not be avoided, among children and between children and adults. “It’s hard to do with a toddler program of social distance,” says Zeichner.

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