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COVID-19: Omicron exposes children to fever more than previous strands – Study

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A child care worker looks after a child infected with COVID-19 in a hospital

MORE children developed symptoms such as fever and convulsions in Japan when the omicron variant of the coronavirus raged early this year than when the delta variant was dominant, a Japanese study showed today.

  This research is the first large-scale survey in Japan to compare symptoms of COVID-19 patients aged under 18 before after the outbreak of the first omicron variant in Japan, according to the National Centre for Child Health and Development.

The survey, led by the National Center for Child Health and Development, is based on data on hospitalised COVID-19 patients across the country. It is the first large-scale survey in Japan to compare symptoms of COVID-19 patients age under 18 from before and after the outbreak of the first omicron variant, according to the center.

It compared the symptoms of 458 infected children registered between August and December last year, when the delta variant was dominant, and those of 389 children registered between January and March this year during the country’s sixth wave of COVID-19, driven by omicron.

The proportion of surveyed cases who had a fever of 38 degrees Celsius or higher was some 40 per cent among 2- to 12-year-olds during the omicron period, about twice the rate during the delta period. The share of children who had convulsions also grew in the same age group. That of children who developed a sore throat increased sharply among those age 13 and over.

By contrast, the proportion of children who experienced smell and taste disorders fell among those age 6 and over.

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Of the 790 children whose COVID-19 vaccination records were available, none of the 43 who needed supplementary oxygen or other treatments for severely ill patients had received two COVID-19 vaccine shots, according to the survey.

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