WEDNESDAY, Aug. 18, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Younger children may be more likely to transmit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection to other members of their households compared with older children, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Lauren A. Paul, from Public Health Ontario in Toronto, and colleagues assessed differences in the odds of household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infection by younger children compared to older children. The analysis included 6,280 households with pediatric index cases of COVID-19.

The researchers found that 27.3 percent of households experienced secondary transmission. While the mean age of pediatric index case individuals was 10.7 years (45.6 percent female), children aged 0 to 3 years had the highest odds of transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to household contacts versus children aged 14 to 17 years (odds ratio, 1.43; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.17 to 1.75). Even when adjusting for definition of secondary cases (two to 14 days or four to 14 days after the index case), the presence of symptoms, association with a school/childcare outbreak, or school/childcare reopening, the association was similar. Increased odds of transmission were also seen among children aged 4 to 8 years and 9 to 13 years versus children aged 14 to 17 years (aged 4 to 8 years: odds ratio, 1.40 [95 percent confidence interval, 1.18 to 1.67]; aged 9 to 13 years: odds ratio, 1.13 [95 percent confidence interval, 0.97 to 1.32]).

“Differential infectivity of pediatric age groups has implications for infection prevention within households, as well as schools/childcare, to minimize risk of household secondary transmission,” the authors write.

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