News

Symptoms that affect everyday life and fluctuate or relapse part of agreed definition



Children who have coronavirus symptoms for at least 12 weeks which affect their physical, mental or social wellbeing will be defined as having long Covid for research purposes, a world renowned team of researchers into child health has agreed.

The scientists said too many definitions of long Covid has contributed to wildly differing estimates of how many children have the condition – from just 1 per cent to as much as 51 per cent – which they say has hampered studies.

A consistently applied definition will enable researchers to reliably compare and evaluate studies on prevalence, disease course, and outcomes, providing a more accurate picture on the true impact of the condition, they said.

A panel of 120 international experts analysed 49 statements on long Covid which were whittled down to just five using a system known as the Delphi process.

These statements were then reviewed by a panel of eight 11-17 year olds affected by long Covid to reach final agreement. The researchers said the symptoms have an effect on everyday life, may continue or develop after Covid-19 infection, and may fluctuate or relapse over time.

The results have been accepted in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Dr Daniel Munblit, honorary senior lecturer at Imperial College London, said: “This work is of an extreme importance to the patients and researchers as it will undoubtedly result in a substantial improvement of all future long Covid research endeavours.”

More from Health

A separate study of more than 23,000 children aged between 11 and 17 years old found 21 different symptoms associated with long Covid.

The most common were headaches, tiredness, loss of smell and a sore throat. Other symptoms such as earache or ringing in the ears, unusual chest and abdominal pain, and unusual eye-soreness were also regularly reported.

Physical symptoms were more common at least three months after infection than at the time of infection, the researchers found.

Girls, older children and those with poorer physical and mental health before Covid-19 were also more likely to have multiple symptoms at three months, suggesting that pre-existing physical and mental health difficulties might influence long Covid.

“Unsurprisingly, regardless of test status, those with multiple physical symptoms at three months after the test concurrently had poorer mental health, reflecting the close relationship between physical and mental health,” the scientists said.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has estimated the percentage of young people in England with self-reported long Covid of any duration as 0.51 per cent for those aged 12–16 years and 1.21 per cent for those aged 17–24 years, equating to 31,080 children aged 11–17 years across England.

“Despite differences in definitions and methodology, this figure is very similar to our figure of 32 872 young people aged 11–17 years with three or more persisting physical symptoms attributable to Covid-19,” the research team said.

Their findings are published in Lancet Child and Adolescent Health.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.