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Risk for Severe COVID-19 Not Increased for Children With Cancer

TUESDAY, Dec. 22, 2020 -- Children with cancer with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) do not seem to be at increased risk for severe infection, according to a study published online Dec. 10 in the British Journal of Cancer.

Gerard C. Millen, from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted a retrospective and prospective observational study involving all children in the United Kingdom diagnosed with cancer; eligible patients tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The incidence and outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection were examined.

The researchers identified 54 cases between March 12 and July 31, 2020: 28, 63, and 10 percent were asymptomatic, had mild infections, and had moderate, severe, or critical infections, respectively. None of the patients died, while three needed intensive care support due to COVID-19. In children younger than 16 years, the estimated incidence of hospital-identified SARS-CoV-2 infection was 3 percent.

"Although numbers are small, the data suggest that this group of patients are not at high risk of severe infections, similar to what has been observed in children in the wider population," the authors write. "It provides further evidence of the importance of continuing to provide routine cancer care to children and young people with malignancies in the time of COVID-19."

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Posted: December 2020

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