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May 22, 2020 Friday 01:49:19 PM IST

First month of data shows children at low risk of COVID-19 infection

Parent Interventions

In the first 30 days since seeing their first patient, the number of children testing positive to COVID-19 at an Australian tertiary paediatric hospital has been low and none who contracted the virus required in-hospital treatment, according to a new study. The research, led by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) and published in Emergency Medicine Australasia, is the first Australian study to examine the rate of COVID-19 in children and adolescents presenting to an Australian hospital. MCRI's Dr Laila Ibrahim said the study was reassuring for parents with children presenting to hospital with the usual childhood acute respiratory illnesses such as asthma, croup and bronchiolitis, that at this time it was very unlikely they have COVID-19.

Dr Ibrahim said parents should also not delay seeking hospital treatment for their children due to fears of contracting the virus. But Dr Ibrahim said despite the low number of cases to date locally, overseas data had shown that children could still become severely unwell with COVID-19 and there shouldn't be complacency.

The four-week study included 434 patients, aged 0-18 years, who presented with COVID-19 symptoms to the emergency department or the respiratory infection clinic of a major paediatric hospital. The study started after the first positive case was confirmed at the hospital on March 21. None of the four positive children were admitted to hospital, developed severe symptoms or had significant additional medical conditions. They all recovered within two weeks after experiencing mild upper respiratory symptoms like a sore throat. Only one was managed under the Hospital-in-the-Home program.

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