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Previous studies assessing the prevalence of COVID-19 sequelae in children have included either a small number of children or a short follow-up period, or have only focused on hospitalized children. We investigated the prevalence of persistent symptoms amongst children and assessed the risk factors, including the impact of variants. A prospective cohort study included children (≤18 years old) with PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. The participants were assessed via telephone and face-to-face visits at 1–5, 6–9 and 12 or more months post-SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis using the ISARIC COVID-19 follow-up survey. Of the 679 children enrolled, 51% were female; 488 were infected during the wild virus wave, and 29 were infected with the Alpha, 42 with the Delta and 120 with the Omicron variants. Fatigue (19%), headache (12%), insomnia (7.5%), muscle pain (6.9%) and confusion with concentration issues (6.8%) were the most common persistent symptoms. Families reported an overall improvement over time, with 0.7% of parents interviewed at 12 months or more of the follow-up period reporting a poor recovery. Patients that had not recovered by 6–9 months had a lower probability of recovering during the next follow-up period. Children infected with a variant or the wild virus had an overall similar rate of persistent symptoms (although the pattern of reported symptoms differed significantly) and recovery rates. Conclusions: Recovery rates after SARS-CoV-2 infection improved as time passed from the initial infection, ranging from 4% of children having poor recovery at 1–5 months’ follow-up to 1.3% at 6–9 months and 0.7% at 12 months. The patterns of persistence changed according to the variants involved at the time of infection. This study reinforces that a subgroup of children develop long-lasting persistent symptoms and highlights the need for further studies investigating the reasons behind the development of PCC.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Clinical Medicine



Publication Date





6772 - 6772