Saturday, January 16, 2021 | ePaper

Kids under 5 are more prone to SARS-CoV-2

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Dr. Muhammad Torequl Islam :
For a long time it has been considered that children and young people are fairly safe from the risk of incidence of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) infection than the others. Besides, many facts, the big reasons behind this are that since children spend most of their time at home and their family members are a little more caring towards them. Young people, on the other hand, have a lower risk of the disease than others; may be due to their strong immunity power. Very recently, many countries around the world have already reopened kids schools, and many are expected to do so soon. But recently a number of research data have come out with a matter of thinking.
The incidence of coronavirus infection in children is generally low and their symptoms are mild, although much depends on their own immunity power. Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, analyzed 145 nasal swabs from patients with mild to moderate cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) within a week of showing symptoms. This research team tested for the genetic pieces of the virus (RNA) in the collected samples. And they found that older children and adults had similar amounts of the viral genetic material. But, the kids under 5 had significantly more (10 to 100 times) viral genetic material loads in their noses as compared to older children and adults.
Another study of 47 Covid-19 infected children between the ages of 1 and 11 in Germany found that asymptomatic kids may carry viral loads like the adults. A French study also suggests that children without symptoms appear to have Covid-19 viral loads similar to those of children with symptoms. On the other hand, another JAMA study reports that children age 4 and under are largely responsible for spreading respiratory syncytial virus in adults over 65.
Although, these studies did not measure transmissibility but these findings may conclude that kids may be one of the possible potential spreaders of SARS-CoV-2, especially in their family members. Therefore, to keep families safe, we need to practicise good hygiene, such as frequent hand washing, cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces daily, laundering clothes and plush toys as needed, practicing standard social distancing with kids, avoiding people who are sick, sneezing or coughing, keeping at least six feet away from other people outside of our household, and having kids wear cloth face masks in public settings where it is difficult to follow social distancing. For reopening schools also include mask wearing, spreading desks at least three feet apart and canceling group activities like choirs and assemblies. The decision to open kids' schools can be made based on the needs of the local needs and conditions. However, the safety of the kids and their family must be taken into an adequate attention.

(Dr. Muhammad Torequl Islam is Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacy, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University. E-mail:

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