Doctors are now reporting a new cases of a rare but potentially lethal inflammatory syndrome in children which is said to be closely linked to the Coronavirus disease. About 100 cases have been reported in more than 6 countries around the world which includes Britain, US, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Doctors from these countries are now investigating on the condition.
The first case to be reported was when the NHS issued an alert to paediatricians that a number of children admitted to the ICU due to a mix of toxic shock and a condition known as Kawasaki disease, which is an inflammatory disorder that affects the blood vessel, heart and other organs. With the new reported cases, about 19 children have already been affected by the unknown disease in the UK but luckily, none have died.
According to statements from the Minister of Health in France, Olivier Veran who said on Wednesday that the country had more than a dozen children with this inflammation around their heart and but there are insufficient evidence to prove a link with the Coronavirus though he later advised the cases were being taken “very seriously.”
Veran told Franceinfo news radio he had received an alert from Paris concerning “about 15 children of all ages”, adding that other cases had been reported in Spain, Italy and Switzerland. He listed the symptoms as fever, digestive problems and vascular inflammation. About three other children in the US within the age of Six Months to eight years are being treated for this similar condition.
Mark Gorelik is a specialist who is treating the patients at Columbia University Medical Center in New York made it known that all the patients with this rare syndrome had fever and inflammation of the heart and gut. “Right now, we’re at the very beginning of trying to understand what that represents,” he told Reuters. Gorelik believes the cases are not Kawasaki disease but a similar condition that shares a common cause, namely an infectious agent that triggers an immune response.
The three cases in the New York follow a report from Stanford University in California in which a 6-month-old child was admitted to hospital with Kawasaki disease but then was later diagnosed with Coronavirus. In fact, many of the children who were being treated for the new and unknown syndrome tested positive for Coronavirus (though others did not). This could mean the syndrome isn’t related to the Coronavirus or that the children had cleared the virus before they were tested, or that the test missed the infection either way, there is still no sure evidence to support this.
Some doctors thought of the syndrome as a “Post-infection inflammatory response” whereby the immune system overreacts in the wake of an infection. This would suggest that in some children the disease has two phases – the initial infection and a secondary immune response that takes hold later.
Dr Nazima Pathan, a consultant in paediatric intensive care in Cambridge, said the number of children admitted to intensive care units with Covid-19 was relatively low, but that some were presenting with what looked like toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease. “These children have had a severe and prolonged inflammatory response to Covid-19 infection and they have not had severe lung disease, unlike the majority of cases in adults,” she said.
“Whilst this is an evolving situation, it is clear that these symptoms are reported in only handfuls of cases,” Pathan added. “The important message is that if parents are worried about their children’s health, they should seek medical advice.”
The new syndrome which is yet to be named was the main talking point between doctors on a teleconference about the COVID-19 pandemic in children which was hosted on Tuesday by the World Health Organization. The first known case in Britain emerged three to four weeks ago but since there are now multiple cases of the syndrome, doctors plan to look over the medical records of children in Intensive Care earlier this year to check whether earlier cases of such syndrome had been missed.