Health

Coronavirus: ‘long Covid’ affects 1 in 10 infected Hong Kong children – symptoms include memory loss, problems focusing and mental disorders, expert warns


All child sufferers of “long Covid” were not vaccinated, Kwan said, referring to a condition in which symptoms lingered for weeks after recovery from Covid-19.

Parents and their young ones in line at the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital in Ngau Tau Kok. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Parents and their young ones in line at the Hong Kong Children’s Hospital in Ngau Tau Kok. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Kwan added that many infected children had also suffered from multisystem inflammatory syndrome – a condition where different body parts become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.

He said the condition had been detected in more than 30 children so far, and for some cases, the severity of the symptoms necessitated intensive care in hospital.

Kwan said the syndrome could leave a long-term impact on children, and Hong Kong’s paediatric experts were planning to set up a dedicated outpatient service to treat young patients infected by Covid-19 and needing long-term follow-ups.

Dr Mike Kwan, head of the paediatric infectious diseases unit at Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Dr Mike Kwan, head of the paediatric infectious diseases unit at Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Jonathan Wong

“I’m quite concerned about the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and also ‘long Covid’ because both are quite new diseases to us, and both are due to the result of the cytokine storm,” he said, referring to a severe immune reaction in which the body releases too much small proteins – that control the activity of other immune system cells – into the blood too quickly.

“The cytokine storm can damage many organs, like the brain, the lung, the heart,” Kwan warned.

He added that like ‘long Covid’, most children suffering from the syndrome were not vaccinated. Kwan stressed inoculation could protect patients from such conditions and speed up recovery.

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As of Friday, the Covid-19 vaccination rate among children aged three to 11 in Hong Kong stood at 72 per cent.



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