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12 British children hospitalised with rare condition linked to COVID-19

Published on 28/04/20 at 10:25am
Photo by https://www.vperemen.com / CC BY-SA 4.0

12 children have fallen ill across the UK with a new and potentially fatal combination of symptoms linked to COVID-19.

Doctors are describing it as something similar to toxic shock syndrome. All the current patients suffering with the condition had to be treated in intensive care. They suffered persistent fevers, skin rashes, sore stomachs and heart problems.

One patient had received extra corporeal membrane oxygenation treatment which is used when someone can no longer breathe on their own. Several had to be treated for heart inflammation.

Most of these 12 children have Kawasaki disease, which is a rare vascular condition that is also the main cause of heart disease in under 18s in the UK.

There are 4.5 cases of the condition for every 100,000 children under 18 across the UK. Some of the children did also test positive for COVID-19.

The NHS sent a letter to GPs in North London which said: “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. The cases have in common overlapping feature of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters consistent with severe Covid-19 in children.

“There is a growing concern that a Sars-CoV-2-related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK, or that there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases.”

Despite this worrying development, health officials are trying to reassure parents that children are one of the groups at lowest risk of developing severe conditions due to COVID-19. Professor Russell Viner, the President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “Our advice remains the same: parents should be reassured that children are unlikely to be seriously ill with Covid-19, but if they are concerned about their children’s health for any reason they should seek help from a health professional.”

Conor Kavanagh

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