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Third wave of COVID-19: Incidence in children is growing

The illusions that children do not get infected with COVID-19, which were at the very beginning of the pandemic, have quickly shattered. WHO has recognized that all age groups are at risk. But unlike adults, children suffer less from the disease. Head of the Department of Acute Respiratory Pathology of the National Center for Maternity and Childhood Welfare, Candidate of Medical Sciences Dinara Kabaeva told 24.kg news agency how small patients are diagnosed and treated.

— How many cases of COVID-19 and community-acquired pneumonia have been detected in children?

Since March 2020, at least 1,457 children have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and community-acquired pneumonia, who received treatment in hospitals.

Dinara Kabaeva

Most of them are children aged from 5 to 15 — 43.4 percent, children from one to four years old take the second place (30.3 percent), the rest are children under 12 months old and over 16 years old.

— Have there been any deaths?

— No deaths have been registered this year; six children died in 2020. The death of each child was examined in detail and discussed. A severe premorbid background (the state of the body that precedes and promotes development of the disease. — Note of 24.kg news agency) took the 1st place in this situation. The children had malformations of the cardiovascular system and other organs. Therefore, it is a moot point what is the cause of death: severity of the underlying disease or infection with COVID-19.

— Were there any children with Kawasaki syndrome?

— This is a very rare syndrome. According to the Department of Cardio-Rheumatology of the National Center for Maternity and Childhood Welfare, 32 children underwent treatment. There were patients with severe forms among them, but all of them were discharged home with improvements, after recovery. There were no deaths.

— The head physician of the Infectious Diseases Hospital Gulzhigit Aaliev recently said that more children in moderate and serious conditions have been admitted recently. What is the reason for this?

— In January — March we had many children with ARVI and pneumonia, but PCR test was positive in a few cases.

Since the end of March, the first floor — the Department of Acute Respiratory Pathology — has been functioning as a red zone, like a filter. All children who are admitted with pneumonia pass through it. We take PCR test from everyone, we try to isolate everyone. If the test result is negative, they are transferred to the upper floor. But if he or she is from the contact group, then they remain in this department. The child is transferred to the Infectious Diseases Hospital with a positive PCR, if the condition is moderate or severe. In case of a mild form, we prescribe treatment and discharge home under the supervision of a family doctor.

The number of pneumonias that have characterized the seasonal rise has decreased in the past two weeks. But more and more contact persons, when someone in the family has COVID-19, turn to us. The latest statistics, perhaps, cannot show some kind of curve, but we work every day and see that such cases have become more frequent, we are detecting more and more children and parents with positive PCR.

There is an increase in the incidence in general now, not only among children. Unfortunately, our population, being aware that this is a serious disease, do not wear masks, and they visit crowded places. The pandemic has not yet gone.

Dinara Kabaeva

The number of infected children depends on the number of sick adults. If adults do not take care of themselves, they get sick, a focal point of infection will form in the house. Children can be infected from them.

— How can we understand that a child has COVID-19, and not ARVI or other diseases?

— COVID-19 begins like any other viral infection, it is extremely difficult to distinguish it. We can suspect it during epidemiological anamnesis — whether there was a focus in the family or contacts with other patients and during PCR diagnostics. There are pathognomonic (characteristic of this disease. — Note of 24.kg news agency) signs in adults, for example, many do not feel smells, taste. They can also do a CT scan of the lungs. Many children cannot complain of these symptoms, there are certain difficulties in CT scanning of small children. Therefore, we can tell by contact and PCR diagnostics.

— Is it true that the Indian strain is more dangerous for children?

— We can only read in scientific journals about its impact on children. We do not have such diagnostics and analyzes to determine what strain children are suffering from.

— Are there any differences in the rehabilitation of children and adults after COVID-19?

— Adults suffer more from the virus than children. Rehabilitation depends on the condition of the child and the presence of comorbidities. But general recommendations are: good nutrition, good sleep, vitamins, walks in the fresh air, and, of course, supervision by a pediatrician, focused specialists.