‘Children are dying’ of rare disease that has possible link to COVID-19 parents warned


“This illness has symptoms that are similar to Kawasaki disease & toxic shock syndrome. DOH is investigating & we will provide updates. Though rare, we urge parents to be vigilant.”

Parents are being urged to seek attention immediately if their child has a fever lasting more than five days.

Other symptoms include diarrhoea or vomiting, breathing trouble, a paling of skin colour, chest pain and lethargy.

Kawasaki disease is a mysterious illness that primarily affects children up to the age of five and causes the walls of arteries to become inflamed, resulting in fever, skin peeling and joint pain.

A rash and swollen glands can also be a sign and if untreated patients can suffer health failure.

The World Health Organization has said it is studying a possible link between Covid-19 and a rare inflammatory illness that has sickened children in Europe and the United States, some of whom later died.

In recent weeks, several countries have reported cases of children affected by the condition with symptoms similar to those of a rare condition, Kawasaki disease.

“Initial reports hypothesise that this syndrome may be related to Covid-19,” WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing.

“It is critical to urgently and carefully characterise this clinical syndrome, to understand causality and to describe treatment interventions,” he said.

He said the WHO had developed a preliminary case definition for the disease, which it has dubbed “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children”, and was calling on clinicians worldwide to “be on the alert and better understand this syndrome.”

His comments came after a doctor in France said that a nine-year-old boy there who had tested positive for Covid-19 had died from the syndrome, marking the first such death in the country.

Similar child fatalities are being investigated in New York and London.

Earlier this week, a London children’s hospital said that a 14-year-old boy with no underlying health conditions had died from the disease and had tested positive for the coronavirus.

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said that three children in the state had died and more than 100 cases were being investigated.

“Tragically, three young New Yorkers have died of what may be a Covid-related illness in children,” Andrew Cuomo wrote on Twitter.

On Friday, Cuomo said that a five-year-old boy had died from a rare inflammatory disease believed to be caused by the new coronavirus.

“There have been 73 reported cases in NY (state) of children getting severely ill with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome.

“On Thursday, a 5-year-old boy passed away from these complications, believed to be caused by Covid-19,” Cuomo said.

“This illness has symptoms that are similar to Kawasaki disease & toxic shock syndrome. DOH is investigating & we will provide updates. Though rare, we urge parents to be vigilant.”

There have been 125 reported cases in France between 1 March and 12 May, according to the country’s public health agency. The patients ranged in age from one to 14.

Kawasaki is an inflammatory illness associated with Covid-19.

Doctors are being advised to be increasingly suspicious that this could be an unusual set of circumstances and could be a possible explanation for a sick child and to report it.

Parents are warned to be extremely vigilant and take no chances, seek medical attention immediately if your child experiences any of these symptoms.


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