An 18-month-old child in Hong Kong tested positive for a corona virus that causes COVID-19. He was reported as the youngest patient in the region.
South China Morning Post, quoted 13/3/2020), reported that the parents of this toddler had confirmed positive for COVID-19 after returning from London on a Cathay Pacific flight on 29 February.
This child was treated at Princess Hospital in Kwai Chung on Thursday, the day after his father was treated at the same health facility. This toddler reportedly experienced symptoms of a cold.
Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Center for Health Protection said that generally, children and adolescents will only experience mild symptoms even if they are infected.
“If the baby is confirmed, I think the symptoms will continue to be mild,” Shuk-kwan said.
Children Can Still Be Infected
A study conducted on COVID-19 patients in Shenzhen, China and published at MerRxiv on March 4 stated that children can still be affected by COVID-19. However, they are more likely to avoid serious illness due to the condition.
Quoting Live Science, scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Shenzhen Center for Disease Control and Prevention found that this was possible because children have healthier lungs than adults. This is because they are not exposed to cigarettes and are less exposed to pollution.
In addition, adults are also more likely to experience a more dangerous body defense process against respiratory disease, compared to children.
However, it is not yet known how ready children with relatively mild symptoms will spread the disease to others.
“This is one of the important questions left now and we are trying to find ways to answer that,” said a study author, Justin Lessler, epidemiologist of infectious diseases from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.