“Something scary enough”: children’s disease linked to coronavirus problems in New York


NEW YORK (AP) – Amber Dean recovered from a mild coronavirus attack and her family of five had just ended their home quarantine when their eldest son, Bobby, 9, fell ill.

“At first it was nothing major, it looked like a belly bug, like he ate something that he didn’t agree with,” said Dean, who lives with her husband and her three young children in the town of Hornell in western New York. “But the next day, he couldn’t keep anything and his stomach hurt so much that he couldn’t sit. “

At the local hospital emergency room, doctors suspected an appendix infection and sent him home with instructions to see his pediatrician.

It wasn’t until later, after Bobby’s condition took an alarming turn for the worse, that doctors realized that he was one of a small but growing number of children with a mysterious inflammatory syndrome who would be linked to the virus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that New York is currently investigating about 100 cases of the syndrome, which affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock. Three state children died and Cuomo advised all hospitals to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children with symptoms.

In New York, which reported at least 52 children with the syndrome, Mayor Bill de Blasio urged parents on Tuesday to call their pediatricians promptly if their children have symptoms such as persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting.

This is what Bobby Dean’s family has done, even though they live in Steuben County, which has only 239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and is in a part of the state ready to reopen certain places on Friday. of work.

The family doctor did a coronavirus test the day after his trip to the emergency room, but the results would have taken 24 hours. That night, the boy’s fever had soared, his abdomen was swollen, he was severely dehydrated and his heart was racing. His father, Michael Dean, drove him to Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, 90 minutes away.

In this February 2020 photo provided by Amber Dean, Bobby Dean, 9, holds an award he received at school in Hornell, New York (Dean Family Photo via AP)

“In Rochester, they did a quick COVID test and it came back positive,” said Amber Dean. For the next six days, she was at her hospital bedside while Bobby was connected to IV lines and a heart monitor. He came home on mother’s day.

“It never affected his respiratory system, it was his heart that affected it,” said Dean. Inflamed lymph nodes caused abdominal pain, she said. “They are hoping that he will get away with 100% recovery but they said there were children with lasting effects. “

Children elsewhere in the United States and Europe have also been hospitalized for the disease known as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

In New York, the syndrome has been detected in a wide range of young people. A 5 year old boy, a 7 year old boy and an 18 year old woman died.

About 23% of cases have occurred in children under 5 years old, about 29% between 5 and 9 years old, about 28% between 10 and 14 years old and 16% between 15 and 19 years old.

“This is a really disturbing situation and I know that parents of the state and parents of the country are very concerned about this, and they should be,” said Cuomo. “If we have this problem in New York, it’s probably in other states.”

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center chief physician Dr. Juan Salazar said two patients would have the rare disease, which he says often occurs two to four weeks after a COVID-19 child is cured, often without never be diagnosed with infection. Yale Health said it is treating three children suspected of having the syndrome.

It never affected his respiratory system, it’s his heart that affected… They hope he will recover with 100% recovery but they said there were children with lasting effects.

–Amber Dean, mother of a child with inflammatory syndrome

Cuomo announced last week that New York is developing national criteria to identify and respond to the syndrome at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In testimony to a Senate committee on the administration’s response to coronaviruses on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that children in general do better than adults and the elderly, but warned that there was still a lot to learn about the virus.

“For example right now, children with COVID-19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome very similar to Kawasaki syndrome,” said Fauci. “I think we had better be very careful not to be riders when we think that children are completely immune to the harmful effects. “

As Bobby Dean’s overflowing energy and sardonic sense of humor return, his mom is on the lookout for signs of illness in her young children, ages 7 months and 3 years.

“It’s a pretty scary thing, watching your child hook up to all these wires and IVs and there’s nothing you can do,” said Dean. “In my opinion, right now, I would not let your child go out in public.”


Jake Seiner contributed to this New York story.


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