- Adler L, Israel M, Yehoshua I, et al Long COVID symptoms in Israeli children with and without a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection: a cross-sectional study BMJ Open 2023;13:e064155. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2022-064155
The nationwide cross-sectional study in primary care was conducted in Israel and involved 3240 parents of children between 5 and 18 years of age, who completed an online questionnaire (11.9% response rate): 1148 children had contracted SARS-Cov2 and 2092 had no history of infection.
The primary outcome sought was the prevalence of long COVID symptoms in children with or without a history of infection.
The secondary outcomes were the factors associated with the presence of symptoms and failure to return to baseline health status in children with a history of infection, including the variables of sex, age, time since illness, symptomatic illness and vaccination status.
Most symptoms in children after SARS-CoV-2 infection were prevalent in the older age group (12-18 years) compared to the younger age group (5-11 years).
Figure 2 highlights the rates of symptoms in children with a history of COVID-19 disease by comparing them between children aged 5-11 years and adolescents aged 12-18 years. Symptoms with insignificant differences between the age groups are marked with an asterisk (*).
Long COVID symptoms were logically prevalent in children with previous infection:
However, some symptoms were more frequent in children without a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection, including:
This study suggests that the prevalence of long COVID symptoms in young people with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection may be higher and more prevalent in adolescents than in young children. Some of the symptoms, mainly somatic symptoms, were more prevalent in children without a previous infection, highlighting the impact of the pandemic itself rather than the infection.