South Africa studies “sharp rise” in hospital children with COVID – archyde

South African health officials said Friday they are investigating a recent one rise in cases among younger age groups who haven’t seen previous waves of the virus as the country battles an “unprecedented” surge in COVID-19 cases that it believes is being powered by the Omicron variant.

Officials in South Africa do not say there is evidence that the variant poses a greater risk to the youngest children compared to previous variants – all age groups in South Africa have seen “steep increases” in infections and hospitalizations.

Instead, some may have happened to test positive for COVID-19 for other reasons after being hospitalized or are being taken in by healthcare providers as a precautionary measure.

“We hope that in the coming weeks we will also be able to give reasons why this cohort of patients in particular has increased infections,” said Dr. Ntsakisi Maluleke, a health officer for the South African province of Gauteng, at a Briefing hosted by the country’s health authority on Friday.

The COVID-19 rate among hospitalized younger children in South Africa under the age of five “is now the second highest and second most common after incidence in those over 60”.

“The trend we are seeing now is different from what we saw before and is a particular increase in hospital admissions for children under five,” said Dr. Waasila Jassat from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa.

In contrast to older age groups, these children in South Africa are also not eligible for vaccination.

“All of these young children were taken in, most of them parents were not vaccinated. So I think the value of vaccination in adults, in protecting the children in the homes, should certainly be kept in mind, ”said Jassat.

While doctors suspected at the start of the pandemic that children might be less prone to contracting and spreading SARS-CoV-2, health officials have since then closed that the disease rates in children “may be comparable and in some situations higher than in adults”.

During the spike in cases caused by the Delta variant earlier this year, pediatricians reported an unprecedented wave of admissions that overwhelmed children’s hospitals across the country.

A study issued by the CDC concluded that hospital admissions had increased based on the total number of cases alone, while the actual proportion of sick children who ended up with serious illness had remained unchanged with the Delta variant.

“We don’t have any results data for these people. We have not yet identified any increased risk of death. So we have to wait to understand how these patients will develop, ”said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove from the World Health Organization (WHO). on Fridaywhen asked about reports of increasing hospital admissions of young people in South Africa.

Notes from South Africa

U.S. health officials say they are closely following data from South Africa and other countries where cases of Omicron have occurred as they look for potential clues to assess the risk of the variant spreading in the United States.

“Because of the previous case numbers, they are ahead of us in the sense that they show differences in protection, immune evasion, disease severity in vaccinated, vaccinated, unvaccinated or people who have recovered from a previous infection”, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Senior Medical Advisor to the President, told Reporter on Friday.

In one to learn which does not yet need to be assessed, South African scientists recently reported that Omicron sees an increased risk of reinfection.

Officials there told her on Friday “Limited data” currently suggests that the “variant is highly transmissible” and so far causes mostly mild illness, but warned that this could change if Omicron spreads “into older age groups”.

Meanwhile, the CDC released one out of Hong Kong to learn on Friday, suggesting that despite the country’s already strict quarantine measures, Omicron may be sufficiently transmissible to spread.

More data from laboratory experiments and real-world tracking of the variant is expected in the coming weeks, which could help officials assess the risk of the highly mutated strain.

“All of this may take another week or two to get the in vitro data, and maybe another week or so to get the clinical data. So we assume that we will give you this information over the next few weeks, ”said Fauci.

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