As if the coronavirus weren’t already scary enough, a mysterious illness has been found in 15 children in New York City reports The New York Times.
Believed to be Kawasaki disease, it’s a rare childhood syndrome that causes inflammation of the blood vessels, which includes the coronary arteries.
The children, ages 2-15 were hospitalized, but none have died, says the Times. Although it’s rare, reports have come from Europe about children with symptoms as well.
“There are some recent rare descriptions of children in some European countries that have had this inflammatory syndrome, which is similar to the Kawasaki syndrome, but it seems to be very rare,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of the World Health Organization said last week in a briefing.
In New York City, which has been the hardest hit city by the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States, does not impact children as much as it does older adults and those who are immunocompromised. But New York has reported the deaths of six children due to complications of the coronavirus.
A New York City health bulletin asking doctors to be aware of the Kawasaki disease or similar symptoms of it has been issued. All 15 children were hospitalized after April 15, according to the Times.
Testing revealed that most of the 15 kids sickened either tested positive for COVID-19 or had been previously exposed to it. The patients identified with Kawasaki disease had symptoms including fever, rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, conjunctivitis, and swollen lymph nodes, medical experts familiar with it say.
Report on symptoms of the disease in children has come from all across Europe, including Italy, Britain, France, and Spain. Many of those children tested positive for coronavirus, some did not.
“So far, from what we understand, this is a rare complication in the pediatric population that they believe is related to Covid-19,” says New York state health commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker. “We are following it very closely.
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