NEWS

What Parents Need to Know About Deltacron

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Key Takeaways

  • Deltacron is a recombinant form of COVID-19, a combination of the Delta and Omicron variants
  • Deltacron is not spreading widely at this time, so little is known about how it may affect children
  • If Deltacron begins to surge, mitigation methods such as vaccination and masking still offer the best protection

With the COVID-19 pandemic constantly evolving, information about new mutations of the virus often makes headlines. Recently, a recombinant form of the virus, referred to as Deltacron, has been found in several countries around the world. While this may sound alarming, it is not currently spreading extensively and doesn’t show signs of becoming dominant. Still, it’s understandable that parents might have concerns about what Deltracron means for themselves, their kids, and their families.

What Is Deltracron?

Deltacron is thought to be a recombination of the Delta and Omicron variants. It’s normal for viruses to mutate and evolve as time goes on, explains Michael Chang, MD, pediatric infectious disease specialist at UTHealth Houston and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. “Not only are they able to evolve through normal mutations and natural selection, but they can also undergo something called recombination, where the genetic sequences of two different strains mix up with each other.”

According to Dr. Chang, Deltacron was likely caused by simultaneous infection with both Delta and Omicron, resulting in a recombinant virus. “Since Omicron began circulating while Delta was still prominent, it’s not a surprise to see this variant,” Dr. Chang says.

A small handful of cases of Deltacron have been reported in Europe and the U.S., but there are no indications yet that there is any kind of surge or outbreak of Deltacron. Jan K. Carney, MD, MP, Associate Dean for Public Health & Health Policy at Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. “There is no evidence that this recombinant virus is widespread or more severe,” says Dr. Carney. “Scientists and public health experts are currently viewing this as another sign that the COVID-19 virus continues to change, and we must continue—globally—to monitor these changes, to be best prepared for the future.”

How Does Deltacron Affect Kids?

Deltacron hasn’t spread widely enough for us to know much about how it might affect different populations. Ilan Shapiro, MD, chief health correspondent and medical affairs officer with AltaMed Health Services, says that there isn’t enough information to know if Deltacron might be worse than the currently circulating variant, omicron.

So far, most COVID variants haven’t caused severe symptoms in children. The same, Dr. Shapiro says, should be true with Deltacron. “We have seen that kids' mortality will be the same as other variants. It's way smaller than adults,” he says.

However, children can still experience long-term symptoms, so COVID-19 isn’t something to take lightly in kids. “There was a perception that COVID-19 was just a mild cold, but now we've seen a lot of kids coming in with prolonged COVID-19: headaches, migraines, and heart inflammation because of infection,” Dr. Shapiro points out. “We cannot dismiss all the other inflammatory syndromes that we are seeing and need to continue to vaccinate for.”

To prevent these risks, Dr. Shapiro recommends vaccinating all eligible kids and using mitigation methods, like masking, in high-risk settings. He knows that many parents have questions and reservations about getting their kids vaccinated, but points out that millions of children have safely been vaccinated around the world, and complications are rare.

“As a pediatrician and as a father, it's extremely important that we create barriers for our kids,” he says. “One thing we can do if we have kids over 5 years old is to consider vaccinating.”

What to Know About Deltacron and Pregnancy

Information about Deltracon in pregnancy is also limited. “Right now, this recombinant virus is not circulating widely, and as such, there is not yet information about any unique concerns for pregnant individuals,” says Dr. Carney. She recommends that if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you follow current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance and stay up-to-date on your vaccines.

Dr. Shapiro points out that any form of COVID-19 is something that expectant parents need to take seriously, as COVID-19 can be harmful for pregnant individuals and their babies. The CDC notes that people who are pregnant are more likely to get sick enough to require hospitalization, ICU care, or ventilation. COVID-19 also increases your risk of premature birth and stillbirth.

“We know pregnant women are actually more sensitive to COVID-19 and can have more complications,” says Dr. Shapiro. “We need to protect them and create barriers and give them tools for their body to be protected.”

Again, this doesn’t mean that you have to panic, but experts urge pregnant people to get vaccinated or boosted if they are eligible.

As a parent, it’s tough to live with so many unknowns, and the pandemic has brought so much uncertainty and fear into our lives. Thankfully, although Deltacron is something for us to pay attention to, it is not currently a threat that we need to worry about. If you have further questions about Deltacron, or COVID-19 in general, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.

7 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccines work.

  3. Lacek K, Rambo-Martin B, Batra D, et al. Identification of a novel SARS-CoV-2 Delta-Omicron recombinant virus in the United States. bioRxiv. 2022. doi:10.1101/2022.03.19.484981

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. Long-haul COVID-19 in children and teens.

  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Safety of COVID-19 vaccines.

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 vaccines while pregnant or breastfeeding.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.