Young kids, adults may have same amount of coronavirus in upper airways

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A new study suggests young children may have levels of COVID-19 virus in their upper respiratory tract similar to those found in adults. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

(Brian P. Dunleavy/ UPI) — Young children with mild or moderate COVID-19 may have the same or higher amounts of virus in their upper respiratory tracts as older children and adults, a study published Thursday by JAMA Pediatrics found.

This could indicate that children age 5 and younger can “spread the virus as efficiently as adults,” study co-author Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent told UPI.

“Together, with studies in other viruses that have linked high amounts of virus to increased transmission and the behaviors of young children, it is reasonable to hypothesize [based on our findings] that children could spread the virus as efficiently as adults,” said Heald-Sargent, a pediatrician and infectious disease specialist at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Larger studies of COVID-19 in children are needed, however, to confirm whether these significant viral loads are a factor in disease transmission, she said. (…)

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