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There is a paucity of evidence about the prevalence and risk factors for symptomatic infection among children. This study aimed to describe the prevalence of symptomatic coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its risk factors in children and adolescents aged 0–18 years in Qatar. We conducted a cross-sectional study of all children aged 0–18 years diagnosed with COVID-19 using polymerase chain reaction in Qatar during the period 1st March to 31st July 2020. A generalised linear model with a binomial family and identity link was used to assess the association between selected factors and the prevalence of symptomatic infection. A total of 11 445 children with a median age of 8 years (interquartile range (IQR) 3–13 years) were included in this study. The prevalence of symptomatic COVID-19 was 36.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 35.7–37.5), and it was similar between children aged <5 years (37.8%), 5–9 years (34.3%) and 10 + years (37.3%). The most frequently reported symptoms among the symptomatic group were fever (73.5%), cough (34.8%), headache (23.2%) and sore throat (23.2%). Fever (82.8%) was more common in symptomatic children aged <5 years, while cough (38.7%) was more prevalent in those aged 10 years or older, compared to other age groups. Variables associated with an increased risk of symptomatic infection were; contact with confirmed cases (RD 0.21; 95% CI 0.20–0.23; P = 0.001), having visited a health care facility (RD 0.54; 95% CI 0.45–0.62; P = 0.001), and children aged under 5 years (RD 0.05; 95% CI 0.02–0.07; P = 0.001) or aged 10 years or older (RD 0.04; 95% CI 0.02–0.06; P = 0.001). A third of the children with COVID-19 were symptomatic with a higher proportion of fever in very young children and a higher proportion of cough in those between 10 and 18 years of age.
To study (i) the current prevalence of iodine-deficiency disorders among schoolchildren in south-western Saudi Arabia after universal salt iodization and (ii) the iodine content of table salts and water.
Cross-sectional study on a stratified proportional allocation sample of children. Thyroid gland enlargement was assessed clinically and by ultrasound scanning. Urine, table salt and water samples were taken to measure iodine content.
The Aseer region, south-western Saudi Arabia.
Schoolchildren aged 8–10 years.
The study included 3046 schoolchildren. The total goitre rate amounted to 24·0 %. Prevalence of enlarged thyroid by ultrasound was 22·7 %. The median urinary iodine concentration of the study sample amounted to 17·0 µg/l. The iodine content of table salt ranged from 0 to 112 mg/kg; 22·5 % of the table salt samples were below the recommended iodine content (15 mg/kg) set by WHO. The total goitre rate increased significantly from 19·8 % among children using table salt with iodine content ≥15 mg/kg to reach 48·5 % among children using table salt with 0 mg iodine/kg. Analysis of water samples taken from schools showed that the majority of water samples (78·8 %) had an iodine content of 0 µg/l.
The study documented that 18 years after the national study, and after more than a decade of universal salt iodization in Saudi Arabia, the problem of iodine-deficiency disorders is still endemic in the Aseer region. Efforts should focus on fostering advocacy and communication and ensuring the availability of adequately iodized salt.
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