Long COVID in children and adolescents

World J Pediatr. 2021 Oct;17(5):495-499. doi: 10.1007/s12519-021-00457-6. Epub 2021 Sep 3.


Background: To identify the prevalence and also the full spectrum of symptoms/complaints of children and adolescents who are suffering from long COVID. Furthermore, we investigated the risk factors of long COVID in children and adolescents.

Methods: All consecutive children and adolescents who were referred to the hospitals anywhere in Fars province, Iran, from 19 February 2020 until 20 November 2020 were included. All patients had a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. In a phone call to patients/parents, at least 3 months after their discharge from the hospital, we obtained their current status and information if their parents agreed to participate.

Results: In total, 58 children and adolescents fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Twenty-six (44·8%) children/adolescents reported symptoms/complaints of long COVID. These symptoms included fatigue in 12 (21%), shortness of breath in 7 (12%), exercise intolerance in 7 (12%), weakness in 6 (10%), and walking intolerance in 5 (9%) individuals. Older age, muscle pain on admission, and intensive care unit admission were significantly associated with long COVID.

Conclusions: Long COVID is a frequent condition in children and adolescents. The scientific community should investigate and explore the pathophysiology of long COVID to ensure that these patients receive appropriate treatments for their condition.

Keywords: Adolescents; COVID-19; Children; Chronic; Coronavirus; Pediatrics.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors