Large Study Tracks Underlying Conditions In Kids With Severe COVID-19

Published: Monday, July 12, 2021 - 5:15am
Updated: Monday, July 12, 2021 - 7:54am
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Children can develop severe coronavirus cases and even end up in the hospital. But only scant data exists regarding which conditions might exacerbate the virus's impact.

New research in the journal JAMA Network Open attempts to uncover those links.

The study of more than 43,000 children across 800 hospitals finds more than one-quarter of those admitted to hospitals or ERs with COVID-19 had an underlying condition.

The most common conditions were asthma, obesity, anxiety, depression and neurodevelopmental disorders like ADHD or autism.

Children with inborn cardiac and circulatory problems, high blood pressure or Type 1 diabetes had the greatest risk of severe COVID-19 illness.

Lead author Lyudmyla Kompaniyets, a health economist at the CDC, said the risks for severe illness varied with age.

"Among children under 2 years old, premature birth and congenital cardiac and circulatory anomalies were both common and also associated with risk of severe illness, whereas among adolescents it was obesity, Type 1 diabetes, epilepsy, even hypertension," Kompaniyets said. 

The study focused on scaling up scientists' grasp of underlying conditions in children and their links to COVID-19 outcomes. More research is needed to understand the reasons for such links. 

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