Fifteen children in New York City who range in age from 2 to 15 have been hospitalized until now with an unknown illness exhibiting characteristics of Kawasaki disease.
All of the patients have fevers. More than half reported having a rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea, possibly after inflammation in the walls of some blood vessels in the body. That may be linked to the coronavirus, according to health officials who describe the illness as a “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome potentially associated with COVID-19.” Kawasaki disease or syndrome is rare and typically affects children under the age of 5. “We have long suspected that there may be different triggers for KD based on individual genetics.The emergence of this new problem suggests that the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, may be a trigger for some children to develop KD,” Jane C. Burns, professor and director of the Kawasaki Disease Research Center, wrote in a statement.
Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in the walls of the arteries and can limit blood flow to the heart. It is usually treatable and most children recover without serious problems, but it can be deadly. Some of the sick children have been admitted to pediatric intensive care units with more than half requiring cardiac support and five being placed on ventilators. None have died. More than 24,000 people in New York state have died of COVID-19 related causes.