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Kids can carry coronavirus in respiratory tract for weeks, study suggests

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Kids can carry coronavirus in respiratory tract for weeks, study suggests

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8/30/20
Children can carry coronavirus in their noses and throats for weeks even if they don't show any symptoms, which might explain how the virus can spread silently, researchers in South Korea reported Friday. "In this case series study, unapparent infections in children may have been associated with silent COVID-19 transmission in the community," the researchers wrote in a new study. "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, DC, wrote in an accompanying editorial. Neither was involved in the research. "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," they wrote. The study comes out at a time when the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been criticized for changing its guidelines on asymptomatic testing, which the American Academy of Pediatrics called "a dangerous step backward" in a statement on Friday. In the CDC's updated guidelines, some people without symptoms may not need to be tested, even if they've been in close contact with someone known to have the virus. This newly released research adds more evidence as to why casting a wide net when it comes to contact tracing is a key strategy to mitigate viral spread. The study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on Friday, included data on 91 asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic and symptomatic children diagnosed with Covid-19 between February 18 and March 31 at 22 centers throughout South Korea.

Sheds new light on the communicable properties of COVID-19.

Related: Clinical Characteristics and Viral RNA Detection in Children With Coronavirus Disease 2019 in the Republic of Korea
 
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