More than ONE QUARTER of children with COVID-19 have at least one pre-existing condition, such as asthma and obesity, study shows
- A new study looked at data from more than 43,000 children who became ill with COVID-19-19 between March 2020 and January 2021
- Researchers found that 28.7% of pediatric patients had at least one underlying medical condition, including 62.9% of hospitalized children
- Asthma was the most common condition, diagnosed in 10% of pediatric patients, followed by neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD and autism
- Type 1 diabetes and obesity were the strongest risk factors for hospitalization, increasing the risk 4.6-fold and 3-fold, respectively
- When it came to serious illness, type 1 diabetes patients were 2.38 times more likely to become seriously ill and heart defect patients 1.72 times more likely
More than a quarter of U.S. children who contract COVID-19 have at least one pre-existing condition, a new study suggests.
Of the 33.3 million Americans infected with the virus since the start of the pandemic, about 3.97 million are children and teenagers.
Children are very likely to become seriously ill, accounting for only 0.1 percent of COVID deaths, but those who get sickest are likely to struggle with underlying health conditions.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that asthma was the most common condition in pediatric COVID-19 patients, followed by neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD and autism, and anxiety disorders.
However, type 1 diabetes, obesity and heart problems were the most likely conditions that increase the risk of hospitalization, intensive care (ICU) admission, 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 were the strongest risk factors for hospitalization, increasing the risk 4.6-fold and 3-fold, respectively
When it came to serious illness, type 1 diabetes patients were 2.38 times more likely to become seriously ill and heart defect patients 1.72 times more likely
For the study, published in JAMA Network Open, the team looked at data from the Premier Healthcare Database Special COVID-19 Release among children hospitalized or seen in the emergency room.
Between March 2020 and January 2021, data was collected from more than 800 U.S. hospitals from more than 43,000 coronavirus patients aged 18 and under.
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 at 62.9 percent.
The team only looked at conditions that affected more than 0.7 percent of patients in the study.
The most commonly diagnosed condition was asthma, which affected 10.2 percent of all children with COVID-19.
Rounding out the top five were neurodevelopmental disorders at 3.9 percent; anxiety and anxiety-related disorders 3.2 percent; depressive disorders in 2.8 percent; and obesity at 2.5 percent.
The results showed that type 1 diabetes and obesity were the strongest risk factors for hospitalization.
Pediatric coronavirus patients with type 1 diabetes were 4.6 times more likely to be hospitalized than children with COVID-19 who did not have the condition, and those who were obese were three times more likely to be hospitalized.
When it came to being seriously ill with the virus — such as admission to ICUs or mechanical ventilation — type 1 diabetes and heart defects were the strongest risk factors.
Patients with type 1 diabetes were 2.38 times more likely to become seriously ill and patients with heart defects were 1.72 times more likely.
In addition, being born prematurely was a risk factor for severe COVID-19 disease in children under the age of two, increasing the risk 1.83-fold.
The team says doctors should keep a close eye on children with pre-existing conditions so that if they do contract the virus, they can be treated quickly before it progresses.
“Efforts in public health prevention and vaccine prioritization may consider the potential for severe COVID-19 disease in children with these underlying medical conditions and chronic illnesses,” the authors wrote.
“Healthcare practitioners may consider the potential need for prudent clinical management of children with these conditions and COVID-19.”