International Doctors find link between coronavirus and Kawasaki-like disease in children

Doctors find link between coronavirus and Kawasaki-like disease in children

Infected children showed symptoms such as fever, a rash, abdominal or gastrointestinal pain, dry lips and mouth, red eyes, swollen glands and some redness on both the soles of the feet as well as the palms of the hands

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With the number of coronavirus-infected patients growing day by day, many are grateful that children are such a small percentage of the overall number of sick patients. Yet many also wonder, why are kids seemingly being spared from it?

According to an article on livescience.com, while earlier studies showed that not many children are getting sick, the reality is that they are actually getting infected, they just aren’t showing symptoms or their symptoms tend to be on the milder side.

But despite the numbers of infected kids being on the lower side, countries with higher numbers of infections have seen a rise in children with Kawasaki disease-like symptoms, which some doctors now believe is related to Covid-19.

In a Bloomberg article dated May 14, there was a featured study released from Italy’s Covid-19 epicentre Bergamo, that saw a rise in what the authors described as a “rare pediatric inflammatory disease.” The study also showed that this disease reminded them of Kawasaki disease, which is a condition that normally affects younger children by causing inflammation of the blood vessels.

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A report in The Guardian shared that while at least 10 cases of infected children were reported in Italy, another 90 or so were reported in both England and New York originally. Unfortunately, one 14-year old boy that was admitted to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital in London for toxic shock and other symptoms became the first known child to die from this disease in the UK. The article also shared that now, another 75 to 100 kids are also being treated throughout the country.

These kids showed symptoms that included fever, a rash, abdominal or gastrointestinal pain, dry lips and mouth, red eyes, swollen glands and some redness on both the soles of the feet as well as the palms of the hands. Doctors began to suspect that the virus could be causing these extreme immune reactions.

According to the Bloomberg.com article, co-author of the study and Director of child health at the Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII, Dr Lorenzo D’Antiga explained, “Our study provides the first clear evidence of a link between Sars-CoV-2 infection and this inflammatory condition, and we hope it will help doctors around the world as we try to get to grips with this unknown virus. I have no doubt that Kawasaki disease in these patients is caused by Sars-Cov-2.”

Although Dr D’Antiga and his study co-author, Dr Annalisa Gervasoni – a practising paediatrician in the same hospital – share that “only a very small proportion of children infected with SARS-COV-2 develop symptoms of Kawasaki disease” at this point, what is important to know is the numbers may rise when economies, schools and other public areas do begin to open up.

Also in the article, Dr D’Antiga iterated, “We are starting to see case reports of children presenting at hospitals with signs of Kawasaki disease in other areas hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Our study provides the first clear evidence of a link between the SARS-CoV-2 infection and this inflammatory condition, and we hope it will help doctors around the world as we try to get to grips with this unknown virus.”

Due to the rise of around 100 cases in kids currently hitting New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo also tweeted a list of symptoms that parents need to watch out for in their children. And although the DOH is investigating, there is still so much to be learned from this ongoing global pandemic.

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Source: Screenshot from Twitter / Andrew Cuomo /TISG
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