UH Confirms Case Of Possible Coronavirus-Related Disease Affecting Children

Health officials are investigating a link between this new illness and COVID-19. [shutterstock]
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Health officials are alarmed by a new illness that targets children and may be related to the coronavirus.

University Hospitals confirmed its first case of multisystem inflammatory disease at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital earlier this month, said Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist.

“Children are coming in with a lot of inflammation, and it does appear to affect multiple systems,” Edwards said.

“It’s a new phenomenon. It’s not something we’ve really ever seen before. It appears to be linked to coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, but that has not yet been confirmed and we are still working on it.”

Officials are investigating a link between this new syndrome and COVID-19 because the majority of kids are testing positive for coronavirus antibodies, Edwards said.

It can cause inflammation in the heart, kidneys, and intestines and resembles many of the symptoms of a rare childhood illness called Kawasaki disease. Also known as Kawasaki syndrome, the illness primarily affects children younger than five years of age, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the new illness seems to affect kids of any age, said Edwards.

“It’s really a little too early to give concrete advice,” she said. “What I can say is, we think it’s rare. We also know that the vast majority of children seem to recover just fine, and so we’re not panicking by any means.”

Some of the signs and symptoms of the illness in children are high fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, and swelling of hands and feet.

There have been multiple reports of children hospitalized in New York City and in other countries with similar symptoms, according to a report in the New York Times.

Officials at the Cleveland Clinic report a few patients with Kawasaki disease and Kawaski-like disease at its children’s hospital. Those cases have not, however, tested positive for COVID-19.

UH confirmed the child who was diagnosed with the inflammatory disease also tested positive for the coronavirus antibodies. The child has been discharged from Rainbow Babies hospital.

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