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“The ability of the children to transmit the infection also depends on their symptoms,” notes dr. Jesse Papenburg.
While back to school is approaching, what do we know today about the susceptibility of school-age children in the COVID-19 and on the risk that they transmit it ?
“The latest data tell us that children over the age of 10 can transmit the COVID-19 as much as the adults, where the recommendation made by the public health Agency of Canada to this population to wear a cover-face,” says the paediatrician Caroline Quach-Thanh, microbiologist-infectiologist at the CHU Sainte-Justine.
Children under ten years of age, on the other hand, seem to be less affected by this disease, ” she continues.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, it has been claimed that young children were less likely to contract the infection. I think it’s still probably true. But, as the children tend to be less symptomatic or even asymptomatic, and to suffer from little disease is severe, it may also be that there is a lot of infected children who have not been detected and that we have escaped. Only studies of seroprevalence we tell you more about it, ” adds Dr. Jesse Papenburg, specialist in microbiology and infectious diseases pediatric the Montreal children’s Hospital.
One thing is certain, ” the proportion of infected children who need to go to the emergency room and be hospitalized is much lower than that among adults. The severity of the disease is much lower in children. It has nothing to do with what we observe in adults “, he says. In addition, the ability of the virus SARS-CoV-2 to attach to the respiratory epithelial cells of young children seems to be less large than in the adult, because the cellular receptors to which the virus attaches itself would be less numerous in young children. “This observation biological reinforces the hypothesis that children are less likely to get the COVID-19 as adults “, he adds.
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Some studies have shown that infected children excrete quantities of viral RNA, similar, or even superior to those that expelled the adults. “It is necessary to look at these studies with caution, because they have focused on samples that have been collected for the clinical needs, at different times of the infection. However, the serious complications of the COVID-19 appear frequently in adults later in the course of the disease in children, so that their viral load is still decreasing. Adults tend to read later than children, which could ensure that they detect a viral load less. The children would not, therefore, a viral load as great as that of adults, ” he says.
“Anyway, the viral load is only one of the factors of infection transmission. The ability of children to transmit the infection also depends on their symptoms, he noted. However, it is known that children exhibit less symptoms : coughing and sneezing less than adults. The thoracic cage in young children is smaller, so that they excrete less likely of viruses in the droplets than adults. “
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Some studies have shown that nearly half of the infected children were asymptomatic, says Dr. Papenburg. The proportion of asymptomatic appears to be larger among children than among adults. “If this is the case, it is necessary to consider the role of the asymptomatic individual in the communal transmission of the COVID-19. It is suspected that asymptomatic individuals, children as adults, transmit the virus, but less than the symptomatic individuals, because they do not cough not. But all is not very clear yet, ” he said.
“When you look at the data, day camps, schools, we see that children transmit the disease, but most of the time, the index case, that is to say, the first case at the origin of an outbreak in a school or in a family, is an adult. It is clear that the children can transmit the virus between them, but the vast majority of the outbreaks that have taken place were small in scale, either two, three, or even four children, at the most, “said Dr. Quach-Thanh, while affirming that” the benefits of allowing children to return to school is much greater than the risk of an outbreak “.
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