Fresh cases double in young kids

Fresh cases double in young kids

Under-5s account for 5% of infections now

Covid-19 infection rates among children under the age of five have doubled since January, the Department of Health said yesterday.

"More than 6,000 young children were confirmed to have Covid-19 last week, as opposed to the weekly infection rate of between 2,000 and 3,000 observed last month," said Dr Ekachai Piansriwatchara, deputy director of the department.

"The main variant behind this surge of Covid-19 infections among these children is Omicron."

Infections among children of this age group now account for 5% of all Covid-19 infections, said Dr Ekachai.

"The main source of infections for young children is from infected family members, which is mainly due to a lack of concern in most families about their child's risk of contracting the virus," he said.

Citing a recent department survey, Dr Ekachai said up to 72% of surveyed families admitted they had not properly assessed the risk of younger family members contracting the coronavirus.

However, he said in most cases young Covid-19 sufferers normally only showed mild symptoms.

Rarely did they suffer rashes, loss of appetite, diarrhoea, fever above 39C, shortness of breath, or low blood oxygen levels, which would require hospitalisation.

"Those who have mild symptoms are advised to be cared for at home, but they should be separated from elderly family members or those with underlying diseases," Dr Ekachai said.

The number of infections for this age group recorded since last April has surpassed 100,000, figures from the department reveal.

In response to the uptick, the Royal College of Paediatricians of Thailand has drafted and issued a preliminary guideline for the treatment and care of young Covid-19 patients.

Confirmed asymptomatic cases should be taken care of at home, while those with mild symptoms without any risk factors such as pneumonia are advised to register for the government's home isolation service or seek hospital admission, the college said in a statement.

Doctors may administer favipiravir in the case of persistent high fever of 39C or above coupled with other symptoms such as vomiting, drowsiness, diarrhoea and decreased appetite, said the college.

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