By Sam Blanchard Senior Health Reporter For Mailonline
Published: 18:06 BST, 3 September 2020 | Updated: 09:24 BST, 4 September 2020
Diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain should be considered as official symptoms of Covid-19 in children, scientists say.
The symptoms, which do not feature among the three listed by the NHS, have also been found to be relatively common in adults.
Officials have said, however, that they are too vague and that the system would be overwhelmed with worried people if everyone with a stomach ache thought they had Covid-19.
Scientists in Northern Ireland say the gut-related signs are so strongly linked to the illness in children that they should be considered.
But coughing – one of the top symptoms in adults who go on to become seriously ill – was not a reliable indicator of whether a child had coronavirus, they said.
The ability to detect children who had coronavirus rose from 76 per cent to 97 per cent when stomach and gut pains were included with the official NHS symptoms, researchers found (stock image)
Healthy children do not die of coronavirus and only those who were seriously ill before they caught the disease are at risk, a major government-funded study has confirmed.
No healthy child has died of the virus yet in the UK, researchers said.
Six children have died but all had other serious health problems such as cancer or cerebral palsy when they were struck down by Covid-19.
Research found that the risk to children is 'strikingly low', only a tiny proportion of them end up in hospital and deaths are 'exceptionally rare'.
Six children under the age of 15 have died of coronavirus in England and Wales since the start of the pandemic, along with nine 15 to 19-year-olds. This compares with 52,082 victims in all other age groups up to August 14, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Scientists led by the University of Liverpool found that one per cent of hospitalised children died, compared to a significantly higher 27 per cent of adults. This means that while one in four adults who ended up in hospital with Covid-19 died of it, only one in 100 children did.
The research, published in the prestigious British Medical Journal, comes amid a fiery debate about whether children in England should return to school