Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. has detected three cases of Kawasaki syndrome, which is a rare complication possibly linked to the novel coronavirus.
One of the three children admitted to the hospital is five years old and displayed typical Kawasaki symptoms of a rash, swollen lymph nodes, cracked lips and swollen tongue. His heart was also in failure and he tested positive for coronavirus.
Another kid with the condition, a 9-year-old, also had heart disorders and his coronary arteries were dilated.
Kawasaki disease “has been an enigma for several decades, but every pediatrician sees it a few times a year, so it’s not that uncommon,” Michael Bell, the hospital’s chief of critical care medicine, told The Washington Post. “But what’s uncommon now is with these patients coming in after being exposed to [COVID-19], we’re seeing a much more severe form of it where people actually have Kawasaki disease as well as additional symptoms like shock.”
The inflammatory disease is a blood vessel disorder, and affects children, causing symptoms such as reddened tongue and eyes, swelling in hands and feet, rashes, high fever and enlarged coronary arteries.
Cases of Kawasaki have started to emerge often in areas, where COVID-19 is widespread. New York City is one of those places. New York state has reported more than 80 possible cases of Kawasaki. The United Kingdom and Canada recently had similar experiences.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kawasaki disease primarily affects children younger than five years of age. It was first described in Japan by Tomisaku Kawasaki in 1967, and the first cases outside of Japan were reported in Hawaii in 1976. It is currently a leading cause of acquired heart disease in the United States.
The disease regarded as “mysterious” by doctors requires further investigation to identify any possible link to COVID-19.