Covid UAE: Some kids prone to severe inflammation after virus recovery

Dubai - Large epidemiological studies suggest that children comprise only 1 to 2 per cent of all Covid-19 cases.

By Nandini Sircar

Published: Fri 12 Mar 2021, 5:37 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Mar 2021, 6:21 PM

Doctors in the UAE say that while a vast majority of kids with Covid-19 don’t get sick or show only mild flu-like symptoms, a few can develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome that causes severe inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, weeks after recovering from Covid-19.

Dr Darshan Doddaiah, Specialist Pediatrician with Prime Medical Center King Faisal Road Sharjah, opines, “Only a small percentage of children develop a disorder called multisystem inflammatory syndrome which seems likely due to intense autoimmune response.”

He adds, “studies show antibody response in kids and adults with mild Covid-19 are similar. However in kids with multisystem inflammatory disorder there was raised in higher levels of IgG antibodies which in turn activated immune cells called macrophages which resulted in severe illness. On the other hand in adults with severe Covid-19, IGA antibodies were raised which interacted with neutrophils to cause cytokines storms which resulted in respiratory distress syndrome and other life threatening complications.”

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on whether children are less often infected by Covid-19. Large epidemiological studies suggest that children comprise only 1 to 2 per cent of all Covid-19 cases.

Dr Samith Alva, Specialist – Pediatrics, Aster Clinic – JLT, opines, “However, these numbers depend on testing criteria, and in many reports testing was done only in individuals who were symptomatic or required hospitalization, which is less often the case for children.”

She adds, “Covid-19 disease presentations are different based on the age group. Children have a milder disease compared to adults. Most children have mild respiratory symptoms. Children generally have fever, dry cough or a sore throat or sneeze. Some children may have gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhoea or vomiting. Occasionally children may lose a sense of smell or taste. And most children tend to have asymptomatic infection, which means they don’t have any symptoms at all.”

Medics explain children who are symptomatic, manifest common symptoms such as cough and fever. A few may develop rashes on their body. Symptoms such as loss of taste and smell are not seen among children.

However, doctors say the rate of infection or severity depends on immune responses. Children with poor immunity are likely to be infected and the chances of developing complications are more in such cases.

Dr Manjunath M Nagalli, Specialist Pediatrician, Burjeel Specialty Hospital, Sharjah said, “The rate of hospitalization is also higher among adults compared to children. Most of the adults infected by Covid-19 require hospital care because they develop pneumonia. However, this trend is absent among most children. But instead, some children are affected by multisystem inflammatory syndrome. In this case, the child will have high fever and develop rashes on their body. This is the dreaded complication seen in children infected by Covid-19. This will last for about a week in normal cases. In some complicated cases, children will become drowsy, develop heart or kidney problems.”

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