Nearly 6% of kids reported long-COVID symptoms 90 days after infection

Written by on July 24, 2022

Nearly 6% of children infected with COVID-19 reported long-COVID symptoms 90 days after infection, found a peer-reviewed study published Friday in the medical journal JAMA network.

“We found that in some children, illness with COVID-19 is associated with reporting symptoms after 3 months,” said Principal Investigator Stephen Freedman.

According to the study, long-COVID symptoms were found among 9.8% of children that had been hospitalized and 4.6% of children discharged from the emergency department.

“Our findings can inform public health policy decisions regarding COVID-19 mitigation strategies for children and screening approaches for long-COVID among those with severe infections.”

Study researcher Todd Florin

Earlier reports suggested that 25% to 58% of children experienced symptoms months after their illness, according to the study, although reported rates of long-COVID continue to be substantially higher in adults. 

According to the study, “although post-COVID conditions (PCCs) have been described primarily in adults, concern regarding PCCs in children has been growing.”

A child receives the COVID-19 vaccine at a temporary Maccabi healthcare center in Rehovot on Monday. (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)

Multiple symptoms increase long-COVID chances

The study also found that children with multiple COVID-19 symptoms upon hospitalization were connected to later suffering from long-COVID. 

“Our finding that children who had multiple COVID-19 symptoms initially were at were at higher risk for long-COVID is consistent with studies in adults,” said co-principal investigator Todd Florin, Doctor of Medicine in clinical epidemiology from Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Among the most common COVID-19 symptoms in children are fatigue, weakness, cough, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath. 

The study suggests that more research is needed regarding long-term symptoms following COVID-19 infection.

“There are no known therapies for long-COVID in children and more research is needed in this area,” explained Florin. 

Nathan Kupperman, Co-Principal Investigator from the University of California, Davis, expressed the significance that the study can have on further research regarding pediatric COVID-19. 

“Our findings can inform public health policy decisions regarding COVID-19 mitigation strategies for children and screening approaches for long-COVID among those with severe infections,” he stated. 

The investigation was conducted in eight countries and surveyed 8,642 children infected with COVID-19, 1,884 of which completed a 90-day follow-up examination period.

The study was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Academic Society in April 2022 and the Meeting of the World Health Organization on June 15, 2021, and was funded primarily by the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. 

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