Blood clots, heart problems, kidney failure: COVID creates a higher risk for rare pediatric health problems, new CDC study finds

Children and teens who have had COVID are at higher risk of blood clots, heart problems, kidney failure and type 1 diabetes, according to a new report released Thursday by US health officials.
Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined the electronic medical records of nearly 800,000 U.S. children ages 0 to 17 who had COVID from 2020 to 2022 and compared them to those of nearly 2.5 million children who died during no COVID had been diagnosed at that time same period.
They found that young people who had been diagnosed with COVID were about twice as likely to have a blood clot in their lungs — and almost twice as likely to have myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle; cardiomyopathy, a disease that makes it difficult for the heart to function properly; or blood clots in veins – in the year following their illness.
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According to the study, people were about 1.3 times more likely to have kidney failure and type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that destroys the pancreas' ability to produce insulin.
Post-COVID conditions – defined as new or recurring health problems that appear four or more weeks after COVID infection, also known as “long COVID” – are poorly understood. Countless efforts are underway to elucidate the condition - or multiple conditions. According to the CDC, however, such studies overwhelmingly focus on adults, not children.
COVID prevention strategies, including immunizations, are critical for the prevention of COVID, post-COVID illnesses and COVID-related diseases such as MIS-C or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. MIS-C patients fully recover from COVID if they have had any symptoms at all, and are well for four to 12 weeks before developing a rare, inflammatory disease that can be fatal.
Up to one in five American adults who have had COVID-19 are living with long-term COVID, US officials have recently declared. And an estimated 1 million Americans have been forced out of the workforce due to medical complications from the nascent condition.
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An estimated 5% to 10% of children who have had COVID later develop long-term COVID, said Dr. Alexandra Brugler Yonts, an infectious disease specialist at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., told Fortune in May.
"People say, 'Oh, it's only 5%,' but we're talking about death being 1%, and that's still a big deal," she said.
At the lower end of that range are kids with "really long COVID, whatever that means," she added. "We're still finding out."
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com

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