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Puzzling Role of Children in Coronavirus Transmission

Aug 29, 2020

 

A South Korean study has concluded that children can carry the novel coronavirus in their noses for up to three weeks. The South Korean study, involving 91 children found that the coronavirus could be found in the swabs of children as much as three weeks later. This was even among children with few or no symptoms. According to the study this suggests they children can transmit the virus. The BBC reports that the South Korea study was unique as the testing, tracing and isolating cases, of even those without symptoms, continued until the virus had cleared.

The BBC reports that earlier studies have found most children with the virus have mild or no symptoms. The president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Proffessor Russell Viner says while children can catch the virus, antibody blood tests suggest they may be less susceptible to catching it than adults, especially if they are under 12 years old. The British study, published on Friday, is confident that children are less likely to become ill than adults even if they do catch it, with many asymptomatic. However, the new findings may help to understand how likely children are to spread the virus.

It is still unclear, however, if children spread the virus at the same rate as adults do. Professor of child health at the University of Liverpool, Proffessor Calum Semple’s assertion is that the virus being present in the respiratory tract did not necessarily mean it could be transmitted, particularly in the absence of symptoms such as coughing and sneezing.

Meanwhile, Dr Roberta DeBiasi, chief of the paediatric disease’s division at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington DC, says it would be “illogical to think children have no role in transmission” as they do carry the virus. The BBC reports that Dr DeBiasi believes infected children, even those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, may play an important role in the transmission of coronavirus infection through communities.

Umm Muhammed Umar

 

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