Rare Inflammatory Syndrome Seen in US Children With COVID-19

April 29, 2020 Updated: April 29, 2020

A rare inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 has been detected in children in the United States, according to doctors.

National Health Service (NHS) England sent an alert to doctors over the weekend before the Paediatric Intensive Care Society posted the notice on Twitter. It warned about an increase in cases of ill children with “common overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters,” and some of them tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

The alert was issued to doctors in north London that it “has been reported that over the last three weeks there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK.”

But now, a team at Stanford Children’s Hospital in California reported a case of the syndrome, saying a 6-month-old girl was sent to the hospital with Kawasaki disease before she was diagnosed with COVID-19.

Dr. Brad Segal, who worked on the case, told CNN that “in hindsight, looking at it, it’s not entirely shocking that this association was possible.”

“Kawasaki disease itself is often preceded by a respiratory or gastrointestinal illness,” Segal, who works in Child Neurology at Stanford Children’s Hospital, told the outlet. “This has been known about Kawasaki disease for quite some time. No one completely understands it, but the model suggests it’s triggered by an infection in a sort of immune dysregulation.”

Meanwhile, a specialist treating patients at Columbia University Medical Center in New York said three children with COVID-19 are being treated for a rare inflammatory syndrome.

Epoch Times Photo
Symptoms of Kawasaki disease, including a “strawberry tongue” and edema in the hands (Dong Soo Kim via the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.)

“Right now, we’re at the very beginning of trying to understand what that represents,” Columbia’s Dr. Mark Gorelik told Reuters, adding that he doesn’t believe it is Kawasaki disease but something similar. “This has very similar features,” he said.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most CCP virus cases in children have been mild, while less than 2 percent of all cases in the United States were children as of early April.

Dr. Nazima Pathan, a consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care in Cambridge, told the BBC earlier this week that health officials in Spain and Italy have reported similar cases among children.

“Some of the children have presented with a septic shock type illness and rashes—the kind of presentation we would expect to see in toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease (which affects blood vessels and the heart),” the news outlet quoted Pathan as saying.

She added, “Overall, children seem to be more resilient to serious lung infection following exposure to coronavirus, and the numbers admitted to intensive care units are relatively low.”

Photo credit: Dong Soo Kim via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.