MONDAY, Dec. 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Close contacts with individuals with COVID-19 and gatherings contribute to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among children, according to research published in the Dec. 18 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Charlotte V. Hobbs, M.D., from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and colleagues compared exposures reported by parents or guardians of children and adolescents aged younger than 18 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection to exposures reported among those without SARS-CoV-2 for 397 children and adolescents.

The researchers found that in-person school or child care attendance ≤14 days before the SARS-CoV-2 test was reported for 62 and 68 percent of case and control participants, respectively, and was not associated with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result. Parents of 64 percent of case patients and 76 percent of control participants reported that their child and all staff members wore masks inside the facility among the 236 children aged 2 years and older who attended child care or school during the two weeks before SARS-CoV-2 testing. Case patients were more likely to have had close contact with a person with known COVID-19 (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 3.2); have attended gatherings with persons outside their household (aOR, 2.4) or activities with other children (aOR, 3.3); or have had visitors in the home (aOR, 1.9) in the two weeks preceding testing.

“Continued efforts to prevent transmission at schools and child care programs are important, as are assessments of various types of activities and exposures to identify risk factors for COVID-19 as children engage in classroom and social interactions,” the authors write.

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