Coronavirus could be tied to a rare but serious illness in children

WION Web Team
New York, New York, United States of America Published: Apr 28, 2020, 07:53 AM(IST)

Coronavirus in children Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The number of COVID-19 cases among children remains small and while some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases till date.

A rising number of children in London are becoming ill with a rare syndrome that could be linked to coronavirus. Reported cases show symptoms of abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiac inflammation with some children testing positive for coronavirus.

The number of COVID-19 cases among children remains small and while some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19, adults make up most of the known cases till date.

To this end, on Sunday, the Paediatric Intensive Care Society UK (PICS) tweeted an "urgent alert" from the National Health Service England about a small rise in the number of cases of critically ill children presenting "overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters" -- with some of the children testing positive for COVID-19.

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Kawasaki disease, also known as Kawasaki syndrome, is a rare childhood illness that causes the walls of the blood vessels in the body to become inflamed.

The alert added there was a growing concern that a [COVID-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK, or that there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases.

In a statement sent over the weekend to medical professionals who look after critically ill children, PICS said "the cases have in common overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters consistent with severe Covid-19 in children. Abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms have been a common feature as has cardiac inflammation."

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The group, however, said there were a "small number of children nationally" who fit the clinical picture described in the NHS alert.

Racial disparities, reports say, have also been emerging among COVID-19 cases in children -- as younger African-Americans and Latinos were being affected more severely and actually being hospitalised.

In a similar case, doctors in northern Italy, one of the world's hardest-hit areas during the pandemic, have reported extraordinarily large numbers of children under age 9 with severe cases of what appears to be Kawasaki disease, more common in parts of Asia.

In the United States, a leading paediatric society says it has yet to see something similar.

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