A study has revealed that kids can accumulate coronavirus in their throats and nose for weeks without showing any symptoms. This might be the reason for the virus spreading silently. Experts have said in the study that invisible infection among children might be due to the silent transmission of COVID19 across the community. This study has been done by South Korean scientists. Interestingly, it has been released at the time when the US Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) is being disparaged for altering its guidelines on asymptomatic testing. The American Academy of Pediatrics has tagged this move as a dangerous step backward.
Scientists have included 91 asymptomatic, presymptomatic, and symptomatic children who have been diagnosed with COVID19, in the study. This has been carried out in 22 centers across South Korea. Around 22 percent of the children have shown no symptoms throughout the study. Around 20 percent of children have been presymptomatic, which means there has been no symptom in the beginning but they have shown some signs of symptoms later. Nearly 78 percent of children have shown symptoms such as cough, cold, fever diarrhea, and loss of smell and taste. The period of symptoms has been varying from one day to 36 days. Around 8.5 percent of children have been diagnosed with COVID19 at the time when symptoms started showing up. About 66.6 percent of patients have been symptomatic but their symptoms have not been recognized until the diagnosis. Nearly 25.4 percent of children have shown signs of symptoms after they have been diagnosed. In the children with no symptoms, the virus was detectable for 14 days on an average. These findings prove that infected children might go unnoticed for days continuing with their usual life activities.
This study aligns with the adult data, which includes 40 percent of adults who have been asymptomatic at the time of infection. Experts have claimed that at least 93 percent of children would have been ignored during the new testing of symptomatic patients alone. As per the current guidelines of the CDC, asymptomatic people may not need to undergo the testing even if they have come in close contact with someone infected with the virus. The new study adds more value to the evidence, which says that we need to cast a wider net for contact tracing. It might be a key strategy to mitigate virus transmission. Several testings have shown that exposed people might not have any symptoms but they are essential for contact tracing. This can help in identifying people who are at risk.