Coronavirus: Doctors in the UK, Italy find a link between COVID-19 and rare syndrome cases

Doctors in the UK and Italy, two of the hardest-hit countries by COVID-19, have reported potential links between a rare inflammatory syndrome in young children and the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The condition, "Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19", shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease including fever, rashes, swollen glands, and, in severe cases, heart inflammation. 

Reports of cases have raised concerns that COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, could pose a greater risk to children than had been understood.

The Daily Mail reported on Friday (NZ time) that eight cases of children with the syndrome were studied at Birmingham Hospital in the UK and tested with an antibody test - revealing all had the SARS-CoV-2 virus a few weeks before they started showing inflammatory syndrome symptoms.

In Bergamo, Italy, between February 18 and April 20, the Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII admitted 10 children with the syndrome including eight who tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, according to a report in The Lancet.

French researchers on Thursday reported Kawasaki disease-like symptoms in 17 children admitted to a Paris hospital between April 27 and May 7, while in an average two-week period they would have expected to see only one such case.

UK scientists studying the Birmingham Hospital cases believe the syndrome is "triggered" by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, according to research seen by the Daily Mail.

"What the antibody test tells us is that these children have definitely been infected with SARS-CoV-2 at some time in the past, which will hopefully help doctors make decisions on how to treat these patients," said the University of Birmingham Professor Adam Cunningham. "Excitingly, the detection of the antibodies may also provide clues on how this syndrome develops," Prof Cunningham told MailOnline.

Children with the rare inflammatory syndrome often have severe abdominal pain and vomiting that progresses to shock, said Dr George Ofori-Amanfo of New York's Mt Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital. He said none of the children he has seen recently with this syndrome had any underlying disease but they all had antibodies for the coronavirus.

Reuters / Newshub.

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