A NEW warning sign of coronavirus has been identified in children – and should be added to the official list, experts say.
Diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal cramps could also be symptoms of Covid-19 in kids, according to researchers.
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Experts have identified a new coronavirus symptom in children – and say it should be added to the official list[/caption]
The NHS official Covid symptoms list includes a fever, cough, and a loss of smell or taste and anyone with these should isolate and get tested.
In the US, health officials lists nausea or vomiting and diarrhoea as possible Covid-19 symptoms for in adults.
As yet, there isn’t a specific symptoms list for children – who tend to suffer a mild or asymptomatic form of the virus.
Researchers at the Queen’s University Belfast have been analysing indicators of the virus in children.
In the trial, they tested 992 children with the average age of 10 to see if they had recently caught coronavirus.
Their results, published as a pre-print at medRxiv, revealed 68 of them had antibodies – suggesting they had been infected at some point.
Around half who tested positive reported having symptoms with fever the most common.
A cough was also a common symptom in those who tested positive but it was being reported just as often by children who tested negative.
Gastrointestinal symptoms – such as diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal cramps – were reported by 13 of the 68 children.
Scientists concluded that it appeared to be significantly associated with being infected by Covid-19.
Just six of the children with antibodies experienced a loss of smell or taste, the study found.
None of the kids were seriously ill or needed hospital treatment.
Stop the spread
Dr Tom Waterfield, who led the study, said: “We know that, thankfully, most children who get the virus will not be very ill with it – but we still do not know how much children may be spreading it.”
He said that testing only the symptomatic children would have identified 26 out of 34 – or 76 per cent of cases.
But by adding the gastrointestinal symptoms it would have pinpointed almost all of them – 33 out of 34, or 97 per cent – of cases, he said.
Dr Waterfield said: “We are finding that diarrhoea and vomiting is a symptom reported by some children and I think adding it to the list of known symptoms is worth considering.”
A Department of Health and Social Care official said: “An expert scientific group keeps the symptoms of Covid-19 under review as we increase our understanding of the virus.
“Anyone in England experiencing the main symptoms of coronavirus – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should get a test as soon as possible.”