Kids and Viral Loads

September 14, 2020


Anchor lead: Children may have very high levels of Sars-CoV2, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Some children have higher levels of Sars-CoV2 in their airways than even severely ill adults, a recent Pediatrics study found. Aaron Milstone, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Milstone: None of us are surprised that kids are a potential reservoir for spreading respiratory viruses. We know that from flu, other studies have also shown increased viral loads in children. Having a high viral load doesn’t mean that you’re at risk of spreading than having a low viral load. When an adult coughs in your face they might do that with more force than a child, or they might be closer to your face than a child, so having that high viral load in a kid if they’re farther from you or generating lots of force may put you at less risk. But whether or not you’re more likely to get it from a kid or an adult still remains unclear.  :33

Milstone says as facts emerge about viral spread, one strategy is helpful: act as if everyone you come in contact with is infected, and make choices accordingly, including mask wearing, hand washing, and physical distancing. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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