A preliminary study in the UK suggests that the delta variant caused slightly more symptoms in children and adolescents, particularly fever and headache, but was not responsible for causing more severe cases than COVID-19. Variable delta and alpha infections were characterized by short duration and similar symptom burden.
The research was carried out by the same King’s College London group, which concluded earlier this year that the alpha variant did not produce more severe cases of Covid than those caused by the “original virus”, which was first identified in Wuhan.
The new data on the delta effect was published Thursday (7) – without peer review – on medRxiv, a platform for preprinting, previews of scientific studies still awaiting publication in scientific journals.
Methodology and notes
Researchers compared two groups of school-aged children and teens diagnosed with Covid-19: 694 with the alpha variant between late December 2020 and early May 2021, and 706 with delta between late December and early July.
Delta children had slightly more symptoms, with headache and fever being more common.
The seven predominant symptoms in the two groups (affected with alpha and delta disease), according to the researchers, are:
- loss of sense of smell
- Sore throat
For children (5 to 11 years of age), one of the symptoms was also reported more often than in adolescents and the general population Pain in the eye area.
Researchers say most symptoms lasted for two days or less.
However, in both groups, few children required hospitalization and prolonged periods of illness were uncommon. In both groups, half of the children were sick for no longer than five days.
The researchers concluded, “Our data indicate that the clinical features of Covid-19 caused by the delta variant in children are very similar to those caused by other variants.”
What is known about vaccination in children and adolescents
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