Covid: Which diphtheria Omicron prefers in children?

Westend61 via Getty Images / Westend61

Omicron will promote croup, a serious form of laryngitis that affects young children.

CORONAVIRUS – Omicron continues its way. This variant of Covid-19, which has become the majority for several months at the expense of infection, continues to develop, which does not prevent the government from easing health measures. Knowing that it is transmitted specifically among children who represent the fewest vaccinated populations, the variant could also encourage a new complication with one name: croup.

This is actually what was published by an American study in the journal Pediatrics On March 8th. “There was a very clear identification between the time Omicron became the dominant variant and when we started seeing an increase in patients with croup,” says Ryan Brewster, MD, a Boston physician and first author of the study.

What is diphtheria?

Especially targeting young children, croup is a serious form of laryngitis caused by a viral infection such as the common cold or COVID-19. If this is a potentially dangerous contagion, there is no reason to panic.

Also known as laryngotracheobronchitis, it is a condition that occurs almost exclusively in children between the ages of 6 months and 6 years. It is exceptionally observed only in adolescents and adults.

Its appearance is noted by swelling in the larynx, which leads to wheezing and a loud, sharp cough. In severe cases, the inflammation leads to breathing difficulties and hospitalization may be required. But the above-mentioned US study found that only four children with croup required intensive care in the past two years. They all survived.

See also  Diabetes: breakfast time affects risk - when you eat your first meal

80% of cases were announced during the Omicron . wave

In order to discover the association between Omicron and diphtheria, researchers analyzed treatments between March 1, 2020 and January 15, 2022 for children with Covid-19 who developed symptoms of diphtheria at Boston Children’s Hospital. Thus the study identified 75 cases, mostly boys under the age of two. Within this sample, 80% of the cases were observed to occur during the Omicron wave.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Weekly strangulation cases of Covid-19 in emergency departments and hospitals in Massachusetts compared to the number of cases of Covid-19

To understand the effect of the variant on croup, one hypothesis comes from the fact that Omicron primarily attacks the upper respiratory tract. However, these are narrower in children than in adults. This would explain why this variable affected them the most. In fact, children have so far been exempt from other variants of Covid-19, which affect parts of the lower respiratory tract.

However, this study deserves to be measured and needs to be verified by others. It represents only a small sample, in one American city. As the researchers explain, this “potentially limits its generalizability.”

See also at HuffPost: Deltacron variant, multiple mutations…when to worry?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here