Hospitals in Delhi are witnessing coronavirus positive children develop symptoms of the rare Kawasaki disease, latest reports say. Kawasaki disease is caused by factors yet unknown and mainly affects children under the age of 5. The disease causes inflammation in blood vessels throughout the body. This particular disease can last up to five days and is not known to respond to medications.
Kalawati Saran Children’s Hospital in Delhi has reported five to six such cases with some of the symptoms of Kawasaki disease. All the children had tested positive for the Coronavirus. One child has also succumbed to the disease.
Dr Virendra Kumar, head of the department of paediatrics, Kalawati Saran hospital, told the Indian Express, “These are the most common symptoms which have been described all over the world. While other viruses can also lead to this syndrome, but as we are in the middle of the pandemic, it is likely that the disease is related to Covid-19.”
The doctor added, “We are not exactly saying they were infected with Kawasaki, but they had Kawasaki-like symptoms. The children had unexplained tachycardia and some of them were in a state of shock. All these positive cases were managed in the Covid care area.” Dr Rachna Sharma, in-charge of the paediatric intensive care unit at BLK hospital, believes that these symptoms are a consequence of an abnormal immune response to the Coronavirus infection.
She said, “This is not a direct effect of the virus but an abnormal immune response induced by it. This multisystem inflammatory syndrome also causes a lot of digestive issues, like there are children who are presented with just pain in the abdomen, vomiting and loose motions. If you do not recognise the symptoms early, then they may have a fatal outcome. Some children may also have kidney failure.”
The BLK hospital has seen two such cases. The Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, on the other hand, has seen six such cases. Dr. Sharma also said that in the “Covid multisystem inflammatory syndrome”, the heart is generally affected 50-60% of the cases and the child goes into shock.
Symptoms of the Kawasaki disease include high fever that lasts up to five days, rash or peeling skin between the chest and legs and often in the groin area, red eyes, swollen glands, swollen and bright red tongue (‘strawberry tongue’), joint pain, belly pain, and diarrhoea and vomiting. Asian children are known to be more susceptible to the disease and between genders, boys are 1.5 times more likely to contract the disease than girls.
There have been reports earlier that the Coronavirus could affect multiple organs even in adults. Long term lung damage was observed among some patients who have made a complete recovery from the disease. In addition, doctors had also warned that the Coronavirus could cause brain damage and heart damage. In this regard, it also ought to be mentioned that the Kawasaki disease is one of the leading cause of heart disease among children.
Earlier, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine had identified nearly 300 children in the United States who had developed the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). While the cause of the disease is not yet known, it was observed that many of these children had contracted the coronavirus or had been in the near vicinity of those who had. The MIS-C can be fatal but most children recovered with adequate medical attention. The MIS-C shares symptoms with toxic shock and the kawasaki disease.