Studies have established that some people infected with COVID-19 suffer long-term health problems following the acute phase of the disease. However, evidence on post-acute (post-COVID-19) syndrome is still limited, especially for children and adolescents.
In the new study, using a health care dataset covering nearly half the German population and spanning all of 2019 and 2020, researchers identified patients with a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.
They then compared the occurrence of pre-specified diagnoses, entered into the medical record at least three months post-infection, in these patients (11,950 children and adolescent and 145,184 adults) to a control cohort of more than 750,000 individuals with matched age, sex and pre-existing medical conditions, without PCR-confirmed COVID-19.
Overall, children and adolescents who had been infected with COVID-19 were 30% more likely than controls to have documented health problems beginning three months or more after infection (436.91 vs 335.98 per 1,000 person-years, IRR=1.30, 95% CI=1.25–1.35, p