Coronavirus is continuing to spread in the UK, and now reports have started to circulate about a possible increase in the number of children with Kawasaki disease. During No 10’s press briefing on Monday, scientists revealed what parents should do if they become worried about their child.
Earlier this week, an NHS board in London sent an emergency alert to GPs across the country.
They warned that they were growing concerned that a COVID-19-related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children.
Children had been reporting abdominal pain, cardiac inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhoea.
Doctors compared the mysterious condition to a number of other conditions, including toxic shock syndrome, and Kawasaki disease.
Kawasaki disease is a very rare inflammatory condition that occurs in children, and the exact cause isn’t known.
It’s usually diagnosed in children under five years old, and can cause a rash, red eyes, and swollen glands in the neck.
It’s a rare condition, but about two to three per cent of all cases are fatal, warned the NHS.
You should seek emergency help straight away if you’re worried about your child’s health, urged NHS England’s national medical director, Stephen Powis.
“We have become aware of reports in the last few days of severe illness in children, which might be a Kawasaki-like disease,” said Powis, during No 10’s daily press briefing.
“Both Chris [Witty] and I are aware of that. We have asked our experts – I’ve asked the National Clinical Director for children and young people to look into this as a matter of urgency, and I know the secretary of state is concerned, as he’s said.
“What I should say, as we’ve already said this afternoon, is that our advice to parents is ‘this disease is very, very rare’.
“If you are worried about a child that is becoming sick, not recovering, then do remember to contact 111, talk to your GP, or in an emergency, contact 999, because the emergency services and the NHS are there for sick children.
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“Although I must emphasise, this is very, very rare, you should still come forward and seek treatment and diagnosis as quickly as possible.”
Chief medical officer, Chris Witty, admitted that it’s possible the condition is linked to the coronavirus outbreak.
He told parents to contact 999 if the symptoms in their children continue to deteriorate.
Witty said: “This is a very rare situation, but I think it is entirely plausible that this is caused by this virus, at least in some cases.
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“We know that in adults, who of course have much more disease than children do, the big problems are caused by an inflammatory process, and this looks like an inflammatory process, albeit a very different one.
“Therefore, given we’ve been given a new presentation of this, at a time with a new disease, the possibility – it’s not definite, we need to look at other causes too – but the possibility that there’s a link is certainly plausible.
“But back to Steve’s overarching point; numbers are small, if parents are worried, then phone up and get advice. It’s very rare.”
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