Although younger people seem to be more spared than adults from Covid-19 disease, researchers at the University of Liverpool have found that among children hospitalized and positive for the novel coronavirus, 1 in 20 develop brain or neurological complications related to it. to infection. The results of the study were published on July 14, 2021 in the journal The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.
Cerebral or neurological complications in children hospitalized for Covid-19
To arrive at these conclusions, British scientists analyzed data from 1,334 children under the age of 18 hospitalized with Covid-19 infection. This information was collected between April 2020 and January 2021. Of these 1334 children, 52 were diagnosed with neurological complications, ie a prevalence of 3.8%. By comparison, among adults admitted to hospital for Covid-19, this prevalence is estimated at 0.9%.
Eight children with neurological peculiarities did not have symptoms related to SARS-CoV-2, but the virus was detected by a PCR test. Ethnicity was found to be a risk factor: more than two-thirds of the children were of African American or Asian descent.
This is the first study to establish key differences between children with syndrome post-Covid PIMS and those who suffered from neurological complications only. More specifically, the 25 children diagnosed with PIMS presented multiple neurological symptoms, namely encephalopathy, stroke, behavioral disturbances and hallucinations. These children were more likely to require intensive care.
In contrast, the 27 children without PIMS presented with primary brain complications such as prolonged seizures, encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), Guillain-Barré syndrome, and psychosis. According to the researchers, the differences between the two groups can be explained by various immune reactions which vary from child to child.
At this point, researchers ignore the long-term consequences of brain and neurological complications. Scientists found that two-thirds of the children followed made a full recovery in the following months.
The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health (juillet 2021) : « Neurological manifestations of SARS-CoV-2 infection in hospitalised children and adolescents in the UK: a prospective national cohort study », Stephen Ray et coll.
University of Liverpool. « New UK study reveals extent of brain complications in children hospitalized with COVID-19. » ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 July 2021.