MORE than a dozen children were in need of intensive care due to a “mysterious new disease linked to the coronavirus”.
The youths all fell ill with a life-threatening combination of symptoms similar to toxic shock syndrome.
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According to the Guardian, at least one child had to be placed on an extra body membrane oxygenation machine (ECMO) – an aggressive form of life support.
These are considered “last resort” treatment and the prognosis for those who end up on an ECMO machine is, by definition, poor.
NHS bosses are so worried that they have sent an urgent alert to doctors to warn them of an increase in the number of cases in recent weeks.
They warned that the cases have features of toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory disease that attacks blood vessels and the heart.
These conditions can cause harmful internal swelling, fever, and breathing problems – all of which are also the main symptoms of coronavirus.
Some have also reported suffering from abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, as well as heart problems.
Professor Stephen Powis said it was “too early to tell” whether there was a link between Kawasaki disease and the coronavirus.
But chief medical officer Chris Whitty said it was “entirely plausible.”
They instructed medical experts to examine the potential link as an “urgent matter”.
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It comes after the UK Pediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS) tweeted an alert it said was from NHS England, which indicates that in “the past three weeks, there has been an apparent increase in the number of children of all ages with multiple systems ”. inflammatory condition requiring intensive care in London and also in other parts of the UK. “
NHS England has confirmed that it passed the warning through its incident teams to clinical commissioning groups and hospital trusts.
The alert indicated that the effects had been seen in children with and without Covid-19 but there was evidence that some patients had previously had a coronavirus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he was “very concerned” about the information.
SIGNS TO MONITOR
Health leaders said in an alert to general practitioners that the signs were:
- Stomach pain
- gastrointestinal symptoms – such as vomiting and diarrhea
The mysterious condition has been compared to toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease.
The signs of TSS are:
- high temperature
- flu-like symptoms, such as headache, feeling cold, body aches, sore throat, and cough
- feel and be sick
- generalized rash
- lips, tongue and whites of the eyes turning bright red
- dizziness or fainting
- difficulty breathing
Signs of Kawaski’s disease include:
- skin rash
- swollen glands in the neck
- dry, chapped lips
- red fingers or toes
- red eyes
Speaking at the daily press conference at Downing Street, Professor Stephen Powis said: “We have learned in recent days of serious cases of illness in children who may be of the Kawasaki type.
“Chris (Whitty) and I are aware of this, and we asked our experts, I asked the National Clinical Director for Children and Youth to address this matter urgently. “
He urged parents who are concerned about a sick child and who is not recovering to see a doctor.
Professor Whitty added: “This is a very rare situation, but I think it is quite plausible that it is due to this virus, at least in some cases.
“Because we know that in adults who of course have a lot more illnesses than children, big problems are caused by an inflammatory process and it looks more like an inflammatory process, quite different.
“Therefore, since we have a new presentation of this at the same time with a new disease, the possibility – it is not certain, we must also look for other causes – but the possibility that there is a link is certainly plausible. “
According to the alert, which was originally shared with general practitioners in north London, affected children show signs similar to toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a serious illness associated with infections, and have online blood markers with severe Covid-19 in children.
They may also have abdominal pain and symptoms of inflammation around the heart.
Alert says, “There is growing concern that an inflammatory syndrome linked to Sars CoV-2 (Covid-19) may appear in children in the UK, or that there may be another infectious pathogen, not still identified, associated with these cases. “
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The alert talks about the atypical Kawasaki disease, a condition that mainly affects children under the age of five.
Symptoms include an elevated temperature that lasts five days or more, often with a rash and / or swollen glands in the neck.
NHS England pointed out that there was no confirmed link between Kawasaki-related illnesses and Covid-19.
Professor Simon Kenny, NHS National Clinical Director for Children and Youth, said: “Fortunately, Kawasaki-like disease is very rare, as are serious complications in children associated with Covid-19, but it is important that clinicians be informed of all potential emerging links so that they can quickly provide good care to children and youth.
The advice to parents remains the same: if you are worried about your child for any reason, contact NHS 111 or your family doctor for urgent advice, or 999 in case of an emergency, and if a professional tells you to to go to the hospital, please go to the hospital. “
Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said parents should be reassured that children are unlikely to be seriously ill with Covid-19.
He said: “We already know that a very small number of children can become seriously ill with Covid-19, but this is very rare – evidence from around the world shows us that children appear to be part of the less affected by this infection. .
“New diseases can come in ways that surprise us, and clinicians should be made aware of any emerging evidence of particular symptoms or underlying conditions that could make a patient more vulnerable to the virus.”
“However, our advice remains the same: parents should be reassured that children are unlikely to be seriously ill with Covid-19, but if they are concerned for their children’s health for any reason whatever, they should seek help from a health care professional. “
According to the NHS, children contract Covid-19 at the same rate as adults but suffer from less severe symptoms overall.
However, children have died, including Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, 13, of Brixton, south London, who died in late March at King’s College Hospital.
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The latest figures from hospital deaths of patients tested positive for Covid-19 in England show that until 5 p.m. on April 25, there had been nine deaths between the ages of 0 and 19.
This represents 0.05% of all hospital deaths in England.
In Scotland, no deaths from Covid-19 had been recorded as of 19 April for people aged 0-14. In Northern Ireland, no deaths from Covid-19 had been recorded as of April 17 for people aged 0-14.