A new study suggest that diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal cramps in children may be a sign that they have been infected with the coronavirus.

Typical symptoms of coronavirus infection are:

– Fever or chills
– Cough
– Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
– Fatigue
– Muscle or body aches
– Headache
– New loss of taste or smell
– Sore throat

In June, the CDC added congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting and diarrhea to the list. However, the UK only lists fever, cough and loss of smell or taste as symptoms that should warrant testing and isolation.

Beyond this, knowledge on COVID-19 is continuously growing and there is still much we don’t know about the virus, especially how it affects children.

The research team at the Queen’s University in Belfast have been studying how the infection takes hold in children. Their trial, which included nearly 1000 children, tested blood samples to determine whether the children were infected with the virus.

Results showed that 68 of the 992 children presented antibodies to the virus in their blood, suggesting they had been infected at some point.

Half of those who had tested positive reported symptoms, with fever being the most common. Interestingly, 13 of the 68 children who tested positive reported gastrointestinal problems like diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.

“We know that, thankfully, most children who get the virus will not be very ill with it – but we still do not know how much children may be spreading it,” said lead researcher Dr Tom Waterfield.

“We are finding that diarrhoea and vomiting is a symptom reported by some children and I think adding it to the list of known symptoms is worth considering,” he added.

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