Baby Dies of Kawasaki Disease - Linked to COVID-19by Laura Driver
NHS doctors have received an alert, warning of a rise in children ending up in intensive care with a life-threatening inflammatory syndrome, similar to toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease.
Speaking of the phenomenon, Dr Liz Whittaker, a clinical lecturer in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Imperial College London, said: "We’ve called it paediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome, which is temporarily associated with SARS-CoV-2. We’re very careful to do that because we can’t definitely say that every single child has COVID at the time they’re unwell. But this new phenomenon is happening in the middle of a pandemic, so it seems pretty reasonable to suggest that the two things are related."
Doctors have warned that cases featured symptoms including tummy pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and heart inflammation.
Professor Chris Whitty, England's Chief Medical Officer, said it's "entirely plausible" this new and mysterious condition is linked to Covid-19.
Up to 100 children in the UK have now contracted the "coronavirus-linked disease". The youngsters - who were mostly aged between five and 16 - had become seriously unwell weeks after possibly being infected with Covid-19, including Alexander Parsons.
Alexander Parsons, from Plymouth, died at Bristol Children's Hospital last month after being diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. His mother, Kathryn called 111 when Alexander began to show a high temperature, a pinprick rash that looked like sunburn and swelling in his lymph nodes.
He was admitted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth in the first week of April and received treatment for Kawasaki disease, before being discharged home on April 18. 'He was really, really happy (after being discharged), it was the first time since it had all started that he was able to spend time with both me and Jon together,' she said.
But Alexander was re-admitted to hospital on April 21 and, following a heart scan, was transferred to Bristol Children's Hospital. On April 25, Kathryn said the couple were told Alexander had multiple giant aneurysms and fluid around the heart. Despite the diagnosis, she said he was smiling and playing with both of his parents that afternoon, but his condition deteriorated in the evening. 'It was just something different about his crying that made me think I need to pace around, sing to him, he really needs to calm down,' she said. 'I had taken two or three steps when his head went back, and I knew something was wrong.'
Medical staff spent nearly an hour trying to revive Alexander, who had no underlying health conditions, but he died after suffering a ruptured aneurysm. Although he tested negative for Covid-19 four times while in hospital, an antibody test is being conducted which will show if he previously had the virus. 'The doctors and nurses were fantastic and they followed the guidelines that they had based on what was available to them at the time,' Ms Rowlands said. 'But if there was more research then in these particular cases it might be tackled more aggressively because this seems to be a more aggressive version of Kawasaki disease.'
A crowdfunding page has been set up by the family to raise awareness of the illness. You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/hannah-rowlands-1
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Kawasaki Disease?
Kawasaki disease has tell-tale symptoms and signs that appear in phases. The first phase, which can last for up to 2 weeks, usually involves a fever that lasts for at least 5 days.
Other symptoms include:
- red ("bloodshot") eyes
- a pink rash on the back, belly, arms, legs, and genital area
- red, dry, cracked lips
- a "strawberry" tongue (white coating with red bumps on the tongue)
- a sore throat
- swollen palms of the hands and soles of the feet with a purple-red colour
- swollen lymph glands in the neck
The second phase usually begins 2 weeks after the fever started. Symptoms can include:
peeling skin on the hands and feet:
- joint pain
- belly pain