NHS Warns Of Urgent Coronavirus-Related Condition In Children

The National Health Service (NHS) has issued an urgent alert due to a rise in the number of children being admitted into intensive care with a new COVID-19-related ‘inflammatory syndrome’

The alert notes that there has been an “apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also other regions of the UK” in the past three weeks.

England’s NHS alert was also shared by the Pediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS) last Sunday, which added:

“There is a growing concern that [a Covid-19-related] inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK, or that there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases.”

It remains unclear how many children have been affected, but PICS stated they were aware of just “a small number of children nationally who appear to fit the clinical picture described in the alert”.

The condition has been observed in children who are infected by the virus, as well as in those who have not been infected.

The illness includes symptoms of a bad case of COVID-19 and also shares some characteristics of toxic shock syndrome as well as atypical Kawasaki diseases – which causes vessel inflammation and swelling – as per the alert.

Common symptoms include abdominal pain, gastrointestinal issues, as well as cardiac inflammation. 

In a statement to medical experts recently, PICS had the following to say:

“Over the weekend, PICS members received an email alert from NHS England highlighting a small rise in the number of cases of critically ill children presenting with an unusual clinical picture.

“Many of these children had tested positive for Covid-19, while some had not.

“It is important to highlight that, both in the UK and in other countries, there have still been very few cases of critically unwell children with Covid-19 admitted to paediatric intensive care units.

“However, an early case report relating to Covid-19 presenting as Kawasaki syndrome has been published recently, and PICS is aware of a small number of children nationally who appear to fit the clinical picture described in the NHS England alert.”

The president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Professor Russell Viner, has tried to calm parents by letting them know that children are unlikely to fall ill with COVID-19.

”We already know that a very small number of children can become severely ill with Covid-19 but this is very rare – evidence from throughout the world shows us that children appear to be the part of the population least affected by this infection.

“New diseases may present in ways that surprise us, and clinicians need to be made aware of any emerging evidence of particular symptoms or of underlying conditions which could make a patient more vulnerable to the virus,” he said.

Adilia Warris, a professor and specialist of infectious diseases at the University of Exeter, added that:

“Children have so far accounted for between 1 per cent and 5 per cent of diagnosed Covid-19 cases, have often milder disease than adults and deaths have been extremely rare.

“The largest series of paediatric cases originates from China, with 5.6 per cent of 2,143 children showing severe disease (e.g. needing oxygen), and 0.6 per cent needing intensive care treatment.

“So far, children with underlying compromised immune systems or using immunosuppressive treatments (corticosteroids) are not at increased risk for developing severe Covid-19 disease.”

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