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78% of pediatric patients in Japan contracted coronavirus at home, many linked to dad

A government building housing the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is seen in Tokyo's Kasumigaseki district. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Around 80% of children who got infected with the coronavirus with known infection routes had contracted the virus at home according to data compiled by the Japan Pediatric Society (JPS), it was announced by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare's advisory board on coronavirus countermeasures on Oct. 13.

    The JPS compiled data on cases in which a member pediatrician was involved, covering 472 children aged 0 to 19 who tested positive for the coronavirus, or 7.6% of all infected pediatric patients as of Oct. 8. Over 90% of these patients were aged 14 or younger.

    Of the 423 children with known infection routes, 329, or 78%, had contracted the virus at home. Of these, 144 patients had contracted the virus from their fathers. Thirty-one children acquired the virus at a kindergarten or day care, and 22 at school-related events. The rate of children who were infected at home had not changed much before and after the temporary closure of schools nationwide, and it was deemed that "there is a limit to the effect of closing schools."

    Nearly 90% of all pediatric patients, or 413 children, recovered without taking medication or other forms of treatment. Only one patient under the age of 1 and another patient between the ages of 1 and 4, or 0.4% of the total figure, had been treated at an intensive care unit.

    Though cases in which pediatric patients develop symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease, where blood vessels become inflamed throughout the body, have been reported in Europe and the United States, such symptoms were not reported during this particular investigation.

    (Japanese original by Sooryeon Kim, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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