Covid-19 and Kawasaki disease in children

Local medical experts say they have seen no evidence of severe inflammatory symptoms related to COVID-19 in Australian children as has been reported in the UK.

A number of children presenting to hospitals in a severe inflammatory state, with many of them also testing positive for COVID-19, has prompted Britain’s Paediatric Intensive Care Society to ask doctors to be on the alert.

Several of the children admitted to intensive care in Britain had Kawasaki disease, but according to one report, only some of the children tested positive for COVID-19, so scientists are unsure if these rare symptoms are caused by the new coronavirus or by something else.

An Italian doctor is also reported to have sent a note to 10,000 colleagues raising his concerns after he and his team reported an unusual increase in the number of patients with Kawasaki disease in regions of Italy hit hard by the pandemic, noting some children had COVID-19 or had contacts with confirmed virus cases.

Spain’s Association of Pediatrics also warned of a number of school-age children in recent weeks suffering from “an unusual picture of abdominal pain, accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms” that could lead within hours to shock, low blood pressure and heart problems.

So far in Australia, however, few children have been hospitalised with COVID-19, and none have died. University of Sydney Professor Robert Booy told The Sydney Morning Herald that Kawasaki disease affects less than 100 children in NSW each year.

“I’m willing to accept there is a very small rate of complication of COVID-19 in children with Kawasaki,” he said.

He also said parents should not be worried about sending their children to school, as Kawasaki disease is most common in preschool-aged children, but also given the overall infection rate of COVID-19 in children was so low.

However, he said if parents did have a concern about the health of their child, and they noticed any symptoms of Kawasaki disease, they should be proactive and take their child to hospital.

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Sources: The Sydney Morning Herald & MedicalXpress

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