THE Long Covid symptoms are different in girls than boys. The more serious consequences of Sars-Cov-2 infection are more common in boys than girls, including the risk of severe multisystem inflammatory syndrome. While the indirect effects of the pandemic have been catastrophic on the very young, especially in low-income countries. To describe the gender differences in the impact of Covid in pediatric age, through 4 different aspects, is an analysis of the scientific literature, presented at the congress of the International Society of Gender Medicine, which was held In Padova.
In Italy, since the beginning of the epidemic, there have been 4,497,000 cases in the 0-19 age group. Of these 22,798 requested hospitalizations, 509 were admitted to intensive care and 73 died. The number of cases is concentrated between 5 and 11 years, with 1.75 million infections, while the number of deaths is higher from 0 to 5 years: they were 27 out of 722,300 registered cases. “The impact of the pandemic was also relevant for the youngest and the data show that it was different between males and females”, explains Danilo Buonsenso, professor of Pediatrics at the Catholic University of Rome and researcher in the Department of Women’s Health and childhood, Gemelli Irccs Polyclinic Foundation in Rome.
Severe forms of Covid do not affect males and females equally. For example, a study published in Pediatrics (January 2022) examined 3,106 hospitalized children: 691 cases of serious illness were in all, of which 384 (equal to 55.6%) in males and 307 (44.4%) in females. This is confirmed by a study published on Jama network Open (February 2022): out of a total of 167,762 children, he observed how the severe forms of Covid-19, in all 1,423, were in 56% of cases affecting males (for a total of 791) compared to 44% in girls (631).
The impact of severe multisystem inflammatory syndrome (Mis-C) is also different in the two sexes, a rare but serious inflammatory disease that affects all organs, triggered by Sars-CoV-2 infection. “Extensive studies conducted in the United States and Sweden, as well as in Latin America – underlines Common Sense – suggest a higher risk of developing Mis-C in male children”. Among these, a work published on Jama Network, which examined 77,416 pediatric cases: 291 children had developed Mis-C, of which 59% male and 41% female. In addition, an additional risk factor was obesity and, to a lesser extent, asthma..
The case of Long Covid is slightly different. A study conducted by the Gemelli Irccs Polyclinic, to evaluate the possible persistence of symptoms, analyzed what was reported by 679 children and adolescents under 18 years “The results – continues the expert – show that there are no different levels of risk of developing Long Covid. But the type of symptoms reported is different between the two genders: females complain more of asthenia, headache, insomnia; males, on the other hand, intestinal disorders, respiratory problems, difficulties in social life “.CopyAMP code
Finally, the fourth aspect analyzed concerns the indirect effects of Covid-19. In this case, the very young are the most penalized. “As in adult women, the effects of the pandemic have also been catastrophic for girls, especially in low-income countries,” notes Buonsenso. Those with some form of disability were twice as likely as children with disabilities to experience violence at home (54% versus 26%). The risk of education interruption was twice as high in girls as in boys (20% versus 10%). “In general, the analysis of the literature provides interesting clues – concludes the expert – on how gender and hormones can be involved in the manifestation of the disease in different age groups”.