COVID-19 in children: Should we be worried?

C L Hendricks, R J Green


Reports indicate that children infected with SARS-CoV-2 have thus far presented with less severe disease than adults. Anxiety regarding a greater ability to transmit the virus is largely unfounded and has played a significant role in the decision to allow children to return to school. In some patients, however, especially in infants and in those with underlying comorbidities, severe disease must be anticipated and planned for accordingly. The most relevant severe clinical presentation in addition to the established respiratory complications, is that of a multisystem inflammatory disorder, with features resembling Kawasaki disease. The impact of the pandemic on the economic and social wellbeing of children, including food insecurity and care when parents are ill, cannot be ignored. During this pandemic, it is imperative to ensure access to routine and emergency medical services to sick children. In so doing, potentially devastating medical and socioeconomic consequences can be mitigated.

Authors' affiliations

C L Hendricks, Department of Immunology, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine and SAMRC Extramural Unit for Stem Cell Research and Therapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

R J Green, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Steve Biko Academic Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Children; Paediatrics

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2020;110(9):864-868. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2020.v110i9.15023

Article History

Date submitted: 2020-08-31
Date published: 2020-08-31

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