Children hospitalized for COVID-19 may develop neurological complications: UK study

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One in twenty children hospitalized for COVID-19 in the UK has developed neurological complications associated with the viral infection, according to a scientific study conducted by the University of Liverpool.

The research, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health and led by the University of Liverpool, identifies a wide spectrum of neurological complications in children and suggests they may be more common than in adults admitted with COVID-19.

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The CoroNerve Studies Group, a collaboration between the universities of Liverpool, Newcastle, Southampton and UCL, developed a real-time UK-wide notification system in partnership with the British pediatric Neurology Association to address the medical concerns.

Dr Stephen Ray, a Wellcome Trust clinical fellow and pediatrician at the University of Liverpool said: “The risk of a child being admitted to hospital due to COVID-19 is small, but among those hospitalized, brain and nerve complications occur in almost 4 percent.”

Joint senior-author Dr Rachel Kneen, a Consultant pediatric Neurologist at Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and honorary clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Liverpool, said that many children were given complex medication and treatments, often aimed at controlling their own immune system.

“Many of the children identified were very unwell. Whilst they had a low risk of death, half needed intensive care support and a third had neurological disability identified. We need to follow these children up to understand the impact in the long term,” he added.

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