Fifteen children in the US have now been hospitalised by a rare inflammatory syndrome in which researchers are investigating a link to COVID-19.
Italian and UK medical experts started investigating a link between the coronavirus and the inflammatory disease after some children in Britain died from it, while Italy reported large numbers with severe cases of what appeared to be Kawasaki disease.
Now doctors in New York, one of the world's hardest-hit cities during the pandemic, have reported 15 children aged between two and 15 with severe cases of the disease.
"We are still working out an understanding of the syndrome," Boston Children's Hospital Kawasaki Program director Dr Jane Newburger said.
"The concern is that this is probably, at least for some of them, a post-immune reaction to COVID," Dr Newburger told NBC News.
Children were until now thought to be much less susceptible than their parents or grandparents to the most deadly complications wrought by the novel coronavirus, though the mysterious inflammatory disease may demand a reassessment.
"Even though the relationship of this syndrome to COVID-19 is not yet defined, and not all of these cases have tested positive for COVID-19 by either DNA test or serology, the clinical nature of this virus is such that we are asking all providers to contact us immediately if they see patients who meet the criteria we've outlined," New York City Health Commissioner Dr Oxiris Barbot said in a statement.
"If your child has symptoms like fever, rash, abdominal pain or vomiting, call your doctor right away," said Dr Barbot said, as reported by The New York Times.
Kawasaki disease, whose cause is unknown, is associated with fever, skin rashes, swelling of glands, and in severe cases, inflammation of arteries of the heart.
There is some evidence that individuals can inherit a predisposition to the disease, but the pattern is not clear.
Reuters / Newshub.