Long-term health problems after Covid-19 are also common among children and young people. This is the result of a study by the TU Dresden, which appeared in October 2021 as an unexamined preliminary publication and has now been published in the specialist journal “PloS Medicine” after a technical examination.
The team led by health researcher Martin Rößler used anonymized health insurance data to compare the frequency of 96 predefined symptoms in around 157,000 people with Covid-19 in the six months after infection with the general population.
It was found that children and adolescents were 30 percent more likely to have health problems three months or later after infection. Adults were 33 percent more likely to have health problems.
However, since adults fall ill more frequently, the absolute increase in the burden of disease is around twice as high for them as for children and adolescents. The study indicates that late effects of an infection with Sars-CoV-2 in children are rarer but not negligible.
The results of the working group also show that the presumed long-term effects are expressed differently in children and adolescents. They mainly experienced malaise, tiredness, exhaustion, coughing and sore throat and chest pain, while adults three months after a Covid 19 infection mainly had smell and taste disorders, fever and shortness of breath.
“The present study now confirms the internationally described post-Covid symptom clusters in adults for Germany and shows that children also have a different pattern post-acutely,” says neurologist Peter Berlit to the Science Media Center, but then adds: “Unfortunately, that too this study cannot show is whether there is actually a causal connection between Sars-CoV-2 infection and all the symptoms described here.”
Experts praise above all the large scope and the study design of the study. “There is a well-chosen control group, which is otherwise rare,” says doctor Clara Lehmann, head of the infection protection center at Cologne University Hospital.
“The need for Sars-CoV-2 detection via PCR is also worth mentioning. The diagnoses were made by a doctor or psychotherapist, i.e. as part of a face-to-face visit, not via an app or self-assessment.” Overall, the results confirmed much of the data on Long Covid that had already been collected in other studies.
However, the study also has weaknesses, especially in terms of data quality. “The encryption quality limits the value of the results, as does the retrospective evaluation,” says Berlit. Also, the data is from the first year of the pandemic, so the results relate to variants of the virus that are no longer relevant.
In addition, no vaccinations were available at the time, so it is not clear how meaningful the results are for the current situation. The study also makes no statements about the consequences of multiple infections, which are now occurring more frequently and which, according to a study recently published in “Nature Medicine”, are associated with a higher risk of damage to health.
The original of this article “New study shows long-term consequences of Covid-19 in all age groups” comes from Spektrum.de.