PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI/AP) ─ Dozens of children across the country have been hospitalized with a serious inflammatory condition possibly linked with the coronavirus and first seen in Europe.
New York authorities announced Wednesday that 64 potential cases had been reported to the state. The advisory followed an alert earlier this week about 15 cases in New York City.
A few other U.S. children have been affected during the pandemic, including a 6-month-old infant in California diagnosed with COVID-19 and Kawasaki disease, a rare condition that causes swelling in blood vessels.
At this time, there are no confirmed cases of the illness in Rhode Island but Dr. Michael Koster, the interim pediatric infectious disease director at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, said parents should still be aware of the signs.
“I think the situation here is that we thought kids were spared from severe COVID-19, and while the fact that this is still very rare and under investigation, we are seeing similar inflammatory responses in kids that are being seen in adults,” Koster said.
Koster, among other medical officials nationwide, believe the condition is linked to the coronavirus.
“It’s important to note that anything can trigger Kawasaki that’s an infection, so when you have widespread coronavirus, you can maybe expect some kids to come down with Kawasaki after an infection like that,” Koster said.
Fever, abdominal pain and skin rashes are common symptoms, while some New York children have developed heart inflammation requiring intensive care. Most had evidence of current or past coronavirus infections.
Some doctors say the New York cases increase the likelihood that the syndrome is a rare complication of COVID-19, although that remains to be proven.
Dr. Sean O’Leary, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ infectious disease committee, said scientists and doctors in the U.S. and other countries are collaborating to better understand the inflammatory condition. But he emphasized that it has not been reported in most children with the coronavirus.
“This is not something parents need to panic about,” he said.
As of now, no deaths connected to teh condition ahve been reported.
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