Comparison of Symptom Duration Between Children With SARS-CoV-2 and Peers With Other Viral Illnesses During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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Some children and young people (CYP) with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) experience persistent symptoms, commonly called “long COVID.” It remains unclear whether symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 persist longer than those of other respiratory viruses, particularly in young children. This cross-sectional study involved 372 CYP (0-15 years) tested for SARS-CoV-2. Character and duration of symptoms (cough, runny nose, sore throat, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, sore muscles, fatigue, fever, loss of smell) were compared between CYP with a positive test (n = 100) and those with a negative test (n = 272), while controlling for medical/demographic covariates. The average duration of symptoms for CYP with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test (8.5 ± 10 days) did not differ from that of CYP with a negative test (7.2 ± 5 days, P =.71, d = 0.046). A positive SARS-CoV-2 test did not increase the risk (36/372, 10%) of symptoms persisting for ≥3 weeks (odds ratio = 0.96, 95% confidence interval = 0.45-2.0). These results suggest CYP with non-SARS-CoV-2 infections experience a similar duration of symptoms as peers with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1108
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Pediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Oct 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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