FACT FINDERS: Long-haul COVID in kids

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 6:06 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As children head back to school, some parents wonder: If their kid gets COVID-19, what are the chances the virus will have long-term effects?

Since the start of the pandemic, more than 4-million children and teens have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Thursday, Aug. 12, it appears lingering symptoms in kids is lower than in adults at around 2% or 3%, but new data from the Delta variant may change that.

Some experts think that number may be even higher as some symptoms might be difficult for parents and pediatricians to spot in a child.

Some common long-haul symptoms in kids are fatigue and headache. However, there are many other symptoms like mood changes, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating. All of these can present a challenge to diagnose in small children.

One expert at the University of Arizona says we are just starting to understand long-haul COVID in children.

”It’s one of those things where I would expect it would be less frequent in children but relative to the number of children that develop clinical disease, whether those percentages are going to be different, that we don’t know,” said Dr. Janko Nikolich-Zugich, Department Head of Immunobiology at the University of Arizona.

Studies are launching across the nation and the university is in line to help. There is an initiative by the National Institutes of Health to study kids and long-COVID.

Dr. Nikolich-Zugich says a University of Arizona team made it through the initial stages of the application process and is now waiting on final word.

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