Comparison of Persistent Symptoms Following SARS-CoV-2 Infection by Antibody Status in Nonhospitalized Children and Adolescents

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2022 Oct 1;41(10):e409-e417. doi: 10.1097/INF.0000000000003653. Epub 2022 Aug 1.


Background: The prevalence of long-term symptoms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in nonhospitalized pediatric populations in the United States is not well described. The objective of this analysis was to examine the presence of persistent COVID symptoms in children by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody status.

Methods: Data were collected between October 2020 and May 2022 from the Texas Coronavirus Antibody REsponse Survey, a statewide prospective population-based survey among 5-90 years old. Serostatus was assessed by the Roche Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 Immunoassay for detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. Self-reported antigen/polymerase chain reaction COVID-19 test results and persistent COVID symptom status/type/duration were collected simultaneously. Risk ratios for persistent COVID symptoms were calculated versus adults and by age group, antibody status, symptom presence/severity, variant, body mass index and vaccine status.

Results: A total of 82 (4.5% of the total sample [n = 1813], 8.0% pre-Delta, 3.4% Delta and beyond) participants reported persistent COVID symptoms (n = 27 [1.5%] 4-12 weeks, n = 58 [3.3%] >12 weeks). Compared with adults, all pediatric age groups had a lower risk for persistent COVID symptoms regardless of length of symptoms reported. Additional increased risk for persistent COVID symptoms >12 weeks included severe symptoms with initial infection, not being vaccinated and having unhealthy weight (body mass index ≥85th percentile for age and sex).

Conclusions: These findings highlight the existence of nonhospitalized youth who may also experience persistent COVID symptoms. Children and adolescents are less likely to experience persistent COVID symptoms than adults and more likely to be symptomatic, experience severe symptoms and have unhealthy weight compared with children/adolescents without persistent COVID symptoms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19* / diagnosis
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccines*
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Vaccines