health

More than A QUARTER of children with COVID-19 have at least one pre-existing condition


More than A QUARTER of children with COVID-19 have at least one pre-existing condition such as asthma and obesity, study finds

  • A new study looked at data on more than 43,000 children who fell ill with COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2021
  • Researchers found that 28.7% of pediatric patients had at least one underlying medical condition, including 62.9% of hospitalized children
  • Asthma was the most common condition, diagnosed in 10% of pediatric patients, followed by neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and autism
  • Type 1 diabetes and obesity were the strongest risk factors for hospitalization, raising the risk 4.6-fold and three-fold, respectively
  • When it came to severe illness, type 1 diabetes patients were 2.38 times likely to fall seriously ill and cardiac anomaly patients were 1.72 more likely

More than a quarter of U.S. children who contract COVID-19 have at least one pre-existing condition, a new study suggests.

Of the 33.3 million Americans who have been infected with the virus since the pandemic began, about 3.97 million have been kids and teenagers.

Children are very likely to get severely ill and make up just 0.1 percent of COVID deaths, but those get the sickest are likely to be battling underlying health issues.

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that asthma was the most common condition in pediatric COVID-19 patients followed by neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD and autism, and anxiety disorders.

However, type 1 diabetes, obesity and heart problems were the most likely conditions to raise the risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission or mechanical ventilation.

A new study found that 28.7% of more than 43,000 pediatric coronavirus patients had at least one underlying medical condition, including 62.9% of hospitalized children (file image)

A new study found that 28.7% of more than 43,000 pediatric coronavirus patients had at least one underlying medical condition, including 62.9% of hospitalized children (file image)

Type 1 diabetes and obesity were the strongest risk factors for hospitalization, raising the risk 4.6-fold and three-fold, respectively

Type 1 diabetes and obesity were the strongest risk factors for hospitalization, raising the risk 4.6-fold and three-fold, respectively

When it came to severe illness, type 1 diabetes patients were 2.38 times likely to fall seriously ill and cardiac anomaly patients were 1.72 more likely

When it came to severe illness, type 1 diabetes patients were 2.38 times likely to fall seriously ill and cardiac anomaly patients were 1.72 more likely

For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team looked at data from the Premier Healthcare Database Special COVID-19 Release among children who were hospitalized or seen in emergency rooms.

Data from more than 800 U.S. hospitals was collected between March 2020 and January 2021 on more than 43,000 coronavirus patients aged 18 years and younger. 

Researchers found that more than 12,400 – 28.7 percent – had at least one underlying medical condition. 

Hospitalized children were even more likely to have a pre-existing condition at 62.9 percent.

The team only looked at conditions that affected more than 0.7 percent of the patients in the study.

The most commonly diagnosed condition was asthma, which affected 10.2 percent of all children with COVID-19.

Rounding out the top five were neurodevelopmental disorders at 3.9 percent; anxiety and fear-related disorders 3.2 percent; depressive disorders at 2.8 percent; and obesity at 2.5 percent.

Results showed that having type 1 diabetes and obesity were the strongest risk factors for hospitalization.

Pediatric coronavirus patients with type 1 diabetes were 4.6 times more likely to be hospitalized than children with COVID-19 who didn’t have the condition and those with obesity were three times more likely to be hospitalized.

When it came to being severely ill with the virus – such as needing to be admitted to ICUs or mechanical ventilation – type 1 diabetes and heart anomalies were the strongest risk factors.

Type 1 diabetes patients were 2.38 times likely to fall severely ill and cardiac anomalies patients were 1.72 more likely.

Additionally, being born prematurely was a risk factor for severe COVID-19 illness among children younger than two years old, raising the risk 1.83-fold.

The team says that doctors should watch children with pre-existing conditions carefully so that, if they do catch the virus, they can be treated quickly before it progresses. 

‘Public health prevention and vaccine prioritization efforts might consider the potential for severe COVID-19 illness among children with these underlying medical conditions and chronic disease,’ the authors wrote.

‘Health care practitioners can consider the potential need for cautious clinical management of children with these conditions and COVID-19.’ 



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