Fewer kids may be carrying coronavirus without symptoms than
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Children have been suggested as the facilitators of SARS-CoV-2 transmission and amplification, because many affected children might be asymptomatic. However, the role of children in asymptomatically carrying SARS-CoV-2 needs to be further explored.

The study tested children and adults admitted with non-infectious conditions but not having any clinical features of SARS-CoV-2 infection to understand the relative frequency of asymptomatic transmission in these two groups of hospitalized patients.

All patients in this group were tested immediately after admission with nasopharyngeal swab testing, irrespective of symptoms. An initial negative swab led to a second one within 12-48 hours. No patient on admission had signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or a history of prolonged or close contact with COVID-19 cases for at least 21 days preceding their admission.

There were 83 children in the study, with a median age of 5 years. The number of adult patients in the study was 131, with the median age being 77 years. Only ~1% of children tested positive, compared to ~9% in adults. In fact, of the 12 adults with a positive RT PCR test, 11 required only one swab test. None of them had any symptoms or signs of infection over the next 48 hours.

This means that the risk of asymptomatic infection among children is almost 90% lower than in adults.

It is notable that in this study, which was carried out in Milan, where the viral burden is among the highest in the world, 9% of adults admitted to hospital for reasons other than any infection were positive for SARS-CoV-2. In contrast, only 1% of hospitalized children were positive.

Children Are Not More Infectious than Adults:

Overall, earlier research shows that about 80% of adults have asymptomatic COVID-19 infection. Most reports on asymptomatic infection in children are from China and indicate they make up about 15% of infected cases. The current study supports the markedly lower prevalence of asymptomatic infection among children compared to adults. This means that they probably do not play a significant role in the viral spread that has been attributed to them.

Source: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/2770117
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