"Most of the pediatric patients who died (due to COVID-19) had comorbidities. Generally they have more than one comorbid. Most of them are patients with kidney failure, then pediatric patients who have malignant disease," said RSCM Team Principal Researcher, Rismala Dewi, in a written statement received here on Sunday.
The study was conducted in the period of March to October, 2020, by examining 490 pediatric patients who were treated for COVID-19.
The results of the study stated that 40 percent of pediatric COVID-19 patients with comorbidities had a fairly high risk of death.
The results of this study have been published in the International Journal of Infectious Diseases entitled 'Mortality in children with positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction test: Lessons learned from a tertiary referral hospital in Indonesia'.
In the meantime, Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Padjadjaran, Cissy Kartasasmita, said the risk of children being infected and sick from COVID-19 was actually very low. "This is based on references to trusted medical journals available," said the pediatrician.
If children are infected with COVID-19, they will tend to show mild symptoms or asymptomatic.
However, it is possible that children can be infected with COVID-19 with moderately severe symptoms, and treated in intensive care rooms and even die from COVID-19.
"Usually it happens because they had other illnesses before, or had comorbidities or malnourished. The death rate in other countries is actually quite low, although the results of a study in Indonesia show a fairly high number," she said.
The statement refers to a medical journal entitled Children and Adolescents With SARS-CoV-2 Infection, which shows that children tend to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms when they are infected with COVID-19.
The journal showed that out of the 203 pediatric patients who contracted COVID-19, 54.7 percent of them were asymptomatic, only 26.1 percent needed treatment due to COVD-19, and the most treated were infants under one year as many as 19.5 percent of the total cases.
She added that adults contributed significantly to the transmission of the virus to children, while the rate of transmission among children was moderate. The tendency for high transmission rates also depends on their age.
"Another medical journal from Mataram Regional General Hospital of West Nusa Tenggara entitled Characteristics and Outcomes of Children with COVID-19 in West Nusa Tenggara Province, Indonesia, stated that the fatality of COVID-19 cases in children occurred due to delayed treatment, the presence of other diseases, and difficult access to health services," she said.
Although data shows that cases of COVID-19 in children are usually asymptomatic, parents need to continue to take care of their children so that they do not contract COVID-19.
The transmission is feared to occur in children who already have comorbidities such as heart disease, kidney disease, tuberculosis, asthma, so that COVID-19 infection is feared to worsen the child's health condition.
The pediatrician also emphasized the importance of maintaining children's immune systems by meeting the needs of balanced nutritious food, drinking enough water, getting enough rest, exercising regularly and complete immunizations.
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