Children Can Carry Coronavirus for Weeks Without Symptoms: Study

MONDAY, Aug. 31, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- The new coronavirus can be present in children's noses and throats for weeks without causing any symptoms, according to a new study that suggests how the virus can spread silently.

Researchers found that among 91 pre-symptomatic and symptomatic South Korean children diagnosed with COVID-19 between Feb. 18 and March 31, 22% never had any obvious symptoms and another 20% didn't have symptoms initially but developed them later, CNN reported.

The study was published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

"In this case series study, inapparent infections in children may have been associated with silent COVID-19 transmission in the community," the researchers wrote.

"Interestingly, this study aligns with adult data in which up to 40% of adults may remain asymptomatic in the face of infection," Dr. Roberta DeBiasi and Dr. Meghan Delaney, both of Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., wrote in an accompanying editorial.

"In this study, the authors estimate that 85 infected children (93%) would have been missed using a testing strategy focused on testing of symptomatic patients alone," DeBiasi and Delaney wrote, CNN reported.

The study was released shortly after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines saying that some people without COVID-19 symptoms may not need to be tested for the new coronavirus, a policy change that's been criticized by many medical experts and groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics.

"We know that children often show few or no symptoms of COVID-19. We also know they are not immune to this virus, and they can become very sick. Testing exposed individuals who may not yet show symptoms of COVID-19 is crucial to contact tracing, which helps identify and support other people who are at risk of infection," AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said in a statement, CNN reported.

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