Additional research is needed to fully understand the scope of Long COVID.
Long COVID can lead to lingering effects in children as well as adults, according to a recent analysis of clinical data presented at IDWeek 2022, held October 19 to 23, 2022 in Washington, D.C.1
Long COVID is the chronic condition where lingering health problems persist after COVID-19 infection. In some pediatric patients, full recovery from COVID-19 does not occur, and as long-term effects became apparent, investigators saw a need to study how Long COVID affects the pediatric population.
Data was gathered from referrals submitted to the University of Minnesota Pediatric COVID Clinic since April 2020. This allowed anonymous clinical data from children diagnosed with Long COVID to be analyzed.
A total of 47 children—28 girls and 19 boys—participated in the study. All participants had been diagnosed with Long COVID. The average age of these patients was 14.7 years, with ages ranging from 4 to 18 years. Prior to infection, 40 patients were healthy, with symptoms of infection appearing in 41 children; 6 were asymptomatic.
Fatigue was reported in 35 patients; dizziness, lightheadedness, or palpitation in 16; abnormal taste or smell in 15; myalgia or arthralgia in 15; headache in 14; difficulty concentrating or focusing in 13; dyspnea in 12; abdominal pain in 10; and sleep disturbance in 6. All of these symptoms have been recorded as clinical symptoms of long COVID.
Long COVID was more often seen in teenagers and in female patients, investigators noted Fatigue and a constellation of symptoms reminiscent of myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and positional orthostatic tachycardia syndrome were also observed in these patients.
These symptoms “suggest a post-viral autoimmune injury as the likely pathophysiology for Long COVID syndrome,” the researchers concluded, adding that further studies are needed on the extent and prevalence of the disease.