TECH Fecal-oral transmission among children needs more attention


Fecal-oral transmission among children needs more attention


06:02, March 16, 2020


Clinical manifestations of COVID-19 in children are less serious than adults. /VCG Photo

The clinical features between children who are diagnosed with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and adult patients are different, according to research by a team of Chinese researchers published in Nature Medicine.
Researchers found that for pediatric patients, the virus is more likely to spread through fecal-oral transmission, which suggests that diagnosis and treatment from this angle may be more effective. 
A team of researchers from the Faculty of Medicine of Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center collaborated to finish the study. According to the team, in many cases, clinical manifestations of COVID-19 in children are less serious than adults. 
Children don't have high fever, cough, weakness and other clinical features that are normal among adult patients. The lung X-ray and laboratory index of many pediatric patients have no obvious pathological features. 

Children under 10 years old accounted for less than 1 percent of cases in a study of 44,672 people with confirmed COVID-19 infection, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). 
"This situation may be because children have a stronger immunity to COVID-19 than adults, especially the elderly," said professor Zhang Kang of MUST.

"Novel coronavirus nucleic acid can be detected in the feces of pediatric patients, and the positive times are higher than the relevant test results in the respiratory tract samples. Therefore, the possibility of fecal-oral transmission is high," Zhang added. 
The study shows that anal swabs are more accurate than pharyngeal swabs in diagnosing whether children have COVID-19, which allows medics to judge the therapeutic effect more effectively.  
Professor Gong Sitang from Guangzhou Women and Children's Medical Center said that more attention needs to be paid to the elderly in terms of prevention of this disease due to the different clinical manifestations between children and adults.

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