A significant number of children and teenagers form the total tally of the new and active Covid-19 cases in Vadodara city, amid the third wave. The Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC), which reported 2,941 Covid-19 cases Friday, has seen a five-time rise in the total number of active cases in 10 days–13,243 from 2,080 on January 11.
Of the total active cases, 1,479 cases are from the age group of 0 to 20. While 408 children from the age group of 0-10 are currently in the list of reported active cases, 1,071 children and teenagers from the age group of 11-20 are part of the active cases tally. In the last 10 days, as many as 476 children from 0-10 years have tested positive. The age group has seen a total of 2,142 cases since the outbreak of the virus in March 2020, while 1,263 teenagers in the 11-20 age bracket have been added to the tally in the last ten days.
Doctors say that infections among the younger population have symptoms like high-grade fever, rigors, acute gastrointestinal infections, diarrhea and headaches. Dr Sheila Aiyer, Head of Department of Pediatrics at SSG Hospital, told The Indian Express that the hospital has seen two admissions in the age group of 0-10 years — one of an eight-month-old with acute respiratory distress, who also needed non-invasive ventilatory support and a 40-day old child, whose mother had also tested Covid positive.
“The Covid-19 children have many symptoms out of which viral gastrointestinal infections, diarrhea, and high-grade fever are common. We have the general pneumonia cases admitted to the hospital as it is the annual season of viral infections, too. But not all pneumonia cases in the pediatric ward have tested positive for Covid19… Covid positive children typically are listless for the first two to three days but the treatment is symptomatic. Older children and teenagers are also complaining of headaches. We are also seeing rigors with a high-grade fever this time, which is a trait of malaria cases commonly. But this time, these symptoms are showing in children with Covid,” Aiyer said.
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Dr Rajesh Maaheshwari, a privately practising paediatrician at Gandhidham in Kutch, said most children with Covid are exhibiting overlapping symptoms seen in flu and flu-like infections, although hospitalisations have been negligible. “We are barely seeing any symptoms in infants less than a year old. For some, the clinical presentation has been mild,” he said.
Earlier, speaking to the Indian Express, Dr VN Shah, Director of Zydus Hospitals in Ahmedabad, stressed that children, especially those below 15 years of age remain vulnerable without a Covid vaccine. “We saw two or three infants in the neonatal department with Covid who had to be put on a ventilator. To me, children are vulnerable with them going to schools, having exposure and not being vaccinated,” he had said.
On Friday, 408 children aged between 0 to 10 and 1,071 children and teenagers between 11 to 20 years were reported positive in Vadodara. This is nearly five times the active cases in the two age groups seen 10 days ago. The corresponding figures on January 11 were 72 and 232 respectively. Currently, the maximum number of active cases are from the age group of 31 to 40 at 2,999, followed by those in the 21 to 30 bracket at 2,928 cases. There are 2,196 active cases in the 41 to 50 age group. The city also has 1,878 active cases in the age group of 51 to 60, 1,130 cases from 61 to 70, and 500 cases from 81 to 90 years as well as 14 active cases of persons above 90 years of age.
Dr Bhavini Shah, head of microbiology at Neuberg Supratech laboratory in Ahmedabad, said the current challenge in Ahmedabad city was containing the transmission from adults to children. “Entire family clusters are testing positive with either the mother or father carrying it home and transmitting it to kids. Of the average 7,000 to 8,000 samples we test daily, about five to seven per cent are of children but the paediatric patient test positivity rate is much lower, around one per cent. Clinical manifestation of Covid in children is currently seeing only OPD treatment and nothing serious is being seen. Surprisingly, we are seeing a fall in the overall samples received since December 20, which could be a factor of several weddings being scheduled in the next couple of days.”
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