COVID-19 has delayed type 1 diagnoses among children

By Editor
5th August 2020
Coronavirus, Paediatrics Type 1 diabetes

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to delayed diagnoses of type 1 diabetes and episodes of severe diabetic ketoacidosis, according to new report.

The report entitled ‘COVID-19 and children with diabetes: emerging knowledge’, has been published in the Practical Diabetes journal this month and was written by Honorary Associate Professor from the University of Liverpool, Consultant Paediatric Endocrinologist May Ng.

Also chair of the Association of Children’s Diabetes Clinicians, Associate Professor Ng discusses the current emerging evidence and outcome data for children with diabetes and COVID-19.

Associate Professor Ng reported on emerging evidence which included a systematic review of 45 relevant scientific papers that reported how chil­dren accounted for between one to five per cent of confirmed COVID­19 cases, and that young people presented with milder symptoms with a better prognosis compared to adults. Deaths were also extremely rare in children.

Associate Professor Ng said: “At the time of writing, current global reports suggest that children, ado­lescents, and young adults under the age of 25 years affected by type 1 diabetes have a disease pattern simi­lar to that of children who do not have diabetes and are at no greater risk of being affected by COVID­-19 than those without diabetes.

“However, the global lockdown has reported substantial reductions in paedi­atric emergency attendances as well as visits to GP surgeries.

“In addition, delayed access to seeing hospital care has also been reported. This has led to delayed presentation and therefore diagnosis of type 1 diabetes cases. There have also been delayed presentations of severe diabetic ketoacidosis.

“Reasons for these issues have ranged from fear of contracting COVID-­19 to an inability to contact or access a medical provider for a timely evalua­tion. It is critically important to stress that paediatric conditions will continue to occur and that fear and concerns of COVID-­19 should not be a reason to delay a referral or access to a health care provider.”

The key points of the report include:

  • The research and data on COVID-19 and children with diabetes are extremely limited
  • Limited evidence suggests that children and young people have lower susceptibility and transmission rates of COVID-19
  • At present, there is no evidence to suggest that children with diabetes are more prone to being infected with COVID-19 compared to other children without diabetes
  • There is also no evidence that children with diabetes are more likely to be infected with COVID-19 paediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome compared to children without diabetes
  • It is important that children with diabetes continue to be vigilant, especially around handwashing and social distancing
  • Children and families should follow the principles of management of diabetes sick days rules if they are unwell and be advised not to delay access or attendance of health care provisions
  • Children and families are encouraged to continue maintaining a healthy lifestyle and to optimise their diabetes management

To read the report in full, click here.

Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

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