Infected children under the age of 5 can get 100 times as much as an adult in their nose and throat – while new research suggests older children are at least as old as they are.
The study was published on Thursday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, despite showing mild symptoms.
Scientists looked at swab samples from 95 children, most of whom reported low-grade fever or cough in the Chicago area. The study does not prove that infected children are contagious, however, the authors believe the debate over schools reopening it should be considered.
“The school’s situation is very complex – there are many nuances beyond just the scientific one,” Ann and Robert H. Dr., an infectious disease specialist at Lurie Children’s Hospital. Taylor Heald-Sergeant, who led the study, told the New York Times.
“But one way out of this is that we cannot assume that children are not sick, or very ill, because they do not have the virus.”
The Heald-Sergeant said, “It wouldn’t be surprising if [kids] Was able to shed the virus and spread it to others.
The study did not specify the race of the participants or whether they had underlying conditions. Nevertheless, experts called it an important jumping off point.
“I have heard many people say, ‘Well children are not susceptible, children are not infected.” And it clearly shows that this is not true, ”Stacey Schulz-Cherry, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, told The Times.
“I think this is an important, really important, first step in understanding the role that children are playing in transmission.”
During the study, researchers tested nasopharyngeal swabs through test sites near Chicago between March 23 and April 27.
The results echo a German study which showed that children who did not have symptoms had higher viral load than adults.