Sars Could Have Less Serious Effects On Young Children

Preliminary findings from Hong Kong investigators fast-tracked for publication on THE LANCET’s website-www.thelancet.com – outline how severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) may have a less serious effect on young children compared with teenagers and adults.

There have been no childhood deaths from SARS up to April 25, 2003. Tai Fai Fok from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and colleagues prospectively studied the first 10 children with SARS who received treatment during the early phase of the epidemic in Hong Kong.

Two distinct patterns of clinical presentation were evident: teenage patients presented with symptoms similar to adult cases-malaise, muscle ache, chill and rigor, whereas younger children had milder symptoms such as cough and runny nose; none had chills, rigor, or myalgia. The clinical course was also much milder and shorter among the younger patients. All 4 teenagers had more severe respiratory symptoms requiring supplemental oxygen.

Tai Fai Fok comments: “Our preliminary observations suggest that younger children possibly develop a milder form of disease and tend to run a less aggressive clinical course.”

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