Barely two days after UK health officials warn of a possible link between COVID-19 and severe inflammatory disease in children, several pediatric patients in New York hospitals show symptoms that seem to reflect a dozen cases pediatric in Britain, according to hospital sources and family members.
Inside Mount Sinai intensive care this week, at least two children had symptoms of the disease known as Kawasaki disease, including toxic shock, according to a hospital source who asked not to be identified . At least one of these patients has also tested positive for COVID-19, leaving staff wondering if they see the same link that prompted UK pediatricians to issue an alert on Sunday.
A third child at NYU Langone Hospital was diagnosed this week with an inflammatory disease, according to family members who say they are shaken by the experience. Their daughter, a toddler, went to the emergency room on Thursday after several days of high fever, but her condition is finally improving. Daughter tested negative for coronavirus, but mother tells NBC New York doctors suspect her inflammatory symptoms may be related to an undetected COVID infection several weeks ago when other household members child were sick.
“I am very concerned about the early signs that in rare cases an autoimmune response in children causes significant disease,” said British Health Secretary Matt Hancock when he appeared on the radio. in London on Tuesday. “We are not 100% sure because some of the people who got it have not tested positive. “
Infectious disease doctors say it’s not uncommon for Kawasaki disease to be triggered by a viral infection.
Symptoms can include prolonged fever, red eyes, gastrointestinal distress, swelling of the hands or food, and if left untreated, Kawasaki can cause fatal heart damage.
“It is important that doctors recognize that there may be an association between COVID and Kawasaki, but I don’t want to add another layer of fear and irrational emotion to this disease,” said NYU’s Dr. Jennifer Lighter Langone, who refused to discuss any specific cases at his hospital. “But I still want people to take into consideration that COVID in children is a much less serious disease than in adults.”
In New York, 273 children were hospitalized with confirmed cases of COVID-19. City officials believe seven people died from the coronavirus.
The Mount Sinai Hospital declined to comment on any recent pediatric patient with inflammatory symptoms.
The NYC health department tells NBC New York that Kawasaki is not a reportable disease, they cannot say if there has been an increase in the number of pediatric cases here.