Kids with no COVID symptoms may shed virus for weeks
New research suggests that children can shed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, even if they never develop symptoms or for long after symptoms have cleared
New research suggests that children can shed SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, even if they never develop symptoms or for long after symptoms have cleared.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, provides important insight on the role children might play in the spread of COVID-19 as communities continue to develop public health strategies to reign in this disease.
The study that sparked this commentary focused on 91 pediatric patients followed at 22 hospitals throughout South Korea.
"Unlike in the American health system, those who test positive for COVID-19 in South Korea stay at the hospital until they clear their infections even if they aren't symptomatic," said study researcher Roberta L. DeBiasi from Children's National Hospital in the US.
The patients here were identified for testing through contact tracing or developing symptoms.
About 22 per cent never developed symptoms, 20 per cent were initially asymptomatic but developed symptoms later, and 58 per cent were symptomatic at their initial test.
Over the course of the study, the hospitals where these children stayed continued to test them every three days on average, providing a picture of how long viral shedding continues over time.
The study's findings show that the duration of symptoms varied widely, from three days to nearly three weeks. There was also a significant study in how long children continued to shed