COVID-19: Inflammatory conditions related to the virus among children have UK doctors worried

Children have not been as affected by COVID-19


Health chiefs in the UK are now investigating reports of a coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome among children as a 'matter of urgency'.

The Paediatric Intensive Care Society UK (PICS) tweeted an "urgent alert" from the National Health Service about a rise in the number of cases of critically ill children with symptoms typical of the Kawasaki disease with some of the children testing positive for COVID-19. “There is growing concern that a related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK,” the NHS tweeted.

Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty was quoted in The Guardian as saying it is 'entirely plausible' this spike is linked to the COVID-19 outbreak. The NHS has instructed medical experts to drill down into the alarming numbers.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he found the flurry of symptoms displayed by children who are least vulnerable to COVID-19 to be very worrying. The Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that causes the walls of the blood vessels in the body to become inflamed.

Reports of these cases have the doctors baffled as children have not been as affected by COVID-19 and very few youngsters have died around the world since the outbreak of the pandemic in December.

The children with the syndrome suffer from symptoms like stomach pain, cardiac inflammation, vomiting and diarrhoea.

\According to Professor Whitty, the condition looks like an inflammation process rather than a different one.

The complication, which is being compared with toxic shock syndrome by doctors, causes internal swelling, fever and breathing problems—most known signs of COVID-19.

Making it even more confusing for the doctors is that some children, who need intensive care have tested negative for the coronavirus. And this is raising questions as to whether another pathogen is causing the condition.

Further clarity on the symptoms is needed to understand and deal with them. So far, it is not known how many children have had the inflammatory syndrome, nor whether any have died of it.