Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Home Health & Fitness sharp rise in cases in children
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sharp rise in cases in children

The number of new infections with the coronavirus has particularly increased among those under 15 years old last week in France, an increase that the intensification of screening only partially explains, according to Public Health France. In the general population, the incidence increased by 17%, to 313 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, well above the maximum alert threshold set by the government (250). But it is among 0-14 years that the incidence increased the most from March 15 to 21, with an increase of 31% compared to the previous week, to 230 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to the epidemiological point published on Friday by the health agency.

Intensification of screening

The increase in cases in children and adolescents is “in a context of intensification of screening campaigns in schools,” said during a press point Christine Campese, epidemiologist at Public Health France. The screening rate among those under 15 increased by 41% last week, driven in particular by the use of saliva tests in establishments (around 200,000 carried out in one week, according to National Education).

This “very significant” increase in screening capacities “highlights the contribution of children to epidemiology, which was perhaps less clearly visible” previously, observed Daniel Lévy-Bruhl, head of the respiratory infections unit of Health. public France.

A British variant that infects both children and adults

The relative stability of the positivity rate in this age group (-0.5 point) shows that it is “not only a screening effect”, he analyzes. The variant initially detected in England, “now very much in the majority” in France, “does not preferentially affect children, but it affects both children and adults”, explains the epidemiologist.

Result, compared to “what we observed in 2020”, with a historical strain of the virus which contaminated the youngest less, this leads to “an increase (…) in transmission between children, possibly within schools, and transmission from children to adults within the household “.

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In addition, the “choice” to leave schools open “means that there are (…) potential transmission circumstances” such as the canteen or the playground “which are accepted in children when one tries to limit as much as possible those in adults “, he adds.

In detail, “the more we decrease in age, the lower the incidence,” observes Daniel Lévy-Bruhl, with an incidence of only 58 in 0-2 year olds (up 25%), against 122 in 3 -5 years (+ 42%), 283 for 6-10 years (+ 36%) and 350 for 11-14 years (+ 24%). Adolescents aged 15 to 17 have an incidence rate “quite close to that of adults”, at 431 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, an increase of 22%.

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