More than FOURTH children with COVID-19 have at least one pre-existing condition such as asthma and obesity, study finds
- A new study examines data on more than 43,000 children who contracted COVID-19 between March 2020 and January 2021.
- The researchers found that 28.7% of pediatric patients had at least one underlying medical condition, including 62.9% of hospitalized children.
- Asthma is the most common condition diagnosed in 10% of pediatric patients, followed by neurodevelopment such as ADHD and autism.
- Type 1 diabetes and obesity are the strongest risk factors for hospitalization, increasing the risk by 4.6 times and three times, respectively.
- In terms of severe disease, patients with type 1
More than a quarter of American children who become infected with COVID-19 have at least one pre-existing condition, a new study shows.
Of the 33.3 million Americans infected with the virus since the pandemic began, about 3.97 million were children and teenagers.
Children are very prone to serious illness and account for only 0.1 percent of COVID deaths, but those who are most ill are likely to struggle with major health problems.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have found that asthma is the most common condition in pediatric patients with COVID-19, followed by neurodevelopment such as ADHD and autism, and anxiety disorders.
However, type 1 diabetes, obesity, and heart problems are the most likely conditions to increase the risk of hospitalization, ICU, or mechanical ventilation.
A new study found that 28.7% of more than 43,000 pediatric coronavirus patients had at least one underlying medical condition, including 62.9% of hospitalized children (file image)
Type 1 diabetes and obesity are the strongest risk factors for hospitalization, increasing the risk by 4.6 times and three times, respectively.
In terms of severe disease, patients with type 1 diabetes are 2.38 times more likely to become seriously ill, and patients with a heart abnormality are 1.72 times more likely to become ill.
For the study, published in the JAMA Network Open, the team reviewed data from a special version of COVID-19 from the Premier Healthcare database of children who were hospitalized or observed in emergency rooms.
Data from more than 800 US hospitals were collected between March 2020 and January 2021 for more than 43,000 coronavirus patients aged 18 years and younger.
The researchers found that more than 12,400 – 28.7 percent – had at least one underlying medical condition.
Hospitalized children were even more likely to have a pre-existing condition – 62.9%.
The team looked only at conditions that affected more than 0.7% of the patients in the study.
The most commonly diagnosed condition is asthma, which affects 10.2% of all children with COVID-19.
Completion of the first five were neurodevelopmental disorders at 3.9%; anxiety and fear-related disorders 3.2 percent; depressive disorders in 2.8 percent; and obesity at 2.5 percent.
The results show that type 1 diabetes and obesity are the strongest risk factors for hospitalization.
Pediatric patients with coronavirus with type 1 diabetes were 4.6 times more likely to be hospitalized than children with COVID-19 who did not have the disease, and those with obesity were three times more likely to be hospitalized.
When it came to severe viral illness – such as the need to be admitted to intensive care units or mechanical ventilation – type 1 diabetes and heart abnormalities were the strongest risk factors.
Patients with type 1 diabetes are 2.38 times more likely to fall severely, and patients with cardiac abnormalities are 1.72 times more likely.
In addition, preterm birth is a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease in children under the age of two, which increases the risk 1.83 times.
The team says doctors need to keep a close eye on children with pre-existing conditions so that if they do catch the virus, they can be treated quickly before it progresses.
“Efforts to prevent public health and prioritize vaccines may consider the potential for severe COVID-19 disease among children with these diseases and chronic diseases,” the authors write.
“Healthcare practitioners may consider the potential need for careful clinical treatment of children with these conditions and COVID-19.”