05:48 GMT28 May 2020
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    Officials with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday issued an alert that an inflammatory disease which has appeared among children in recent weeks may be linked to COVID-19.

    The disease, which is called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), was first reported in late April in Britain. However, since then, additional cases have appeared within the US and abroad.

    France on Thursday reported that a 9-year-old boy who had tested positive for COVID-19 had died due to MIS-C, marking the country’s first fatality from the illness. On May 9, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also reported that three children in the state had died from the disease, and he said on Thursday that there were more than 100 known cases of the illness in New York.

    The condition has been likened to Kawasaki disease, which is common in children younger than 5 years old and causes inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body. Kawasaki disease typically causes a fever, as well as a rash, sore throat and swollen lymph glands. Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, skin color changes, rashes and labored breathing.

    According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “clinicians should report suspected cases to their state, local or territorial health departments even if the patient also fulfills all or part of the criteria for Kawasaki disease.”

    “MIS-C also should be considered in pediatric deaths with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19]. Health officials and specialists are monitoring the condition closely to learn more about risk factors and clinical course,” the notice adds.

    Sean T. O'Leary, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases, told the American Academy of Pediatrics that parents should keep an eye out for a persistent fever in their children.

    “Parents really shouldn’t be afraid to take their child to their pediatrician if they’re worried they’re sick,” O’Leary said. “They should also, of course, make sure they are keeping up on their well-child care and their vaccinations. The diseases we prevent with vaccines are actually much more severe in children than COVID-19, so we want to make sure to protect children from those diseases.”

    Even though the CDC has yet to provide treatment guidance, O’Leary has said that intravenous immunoglobulin and supportive care are options. Immunoglobulin therapy uses several different antibodies to treat various health conditions.


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