As most know, the deadly COVID-19 bug has spread to most parts of the world causing untold infections and deaths. In the UK, a total number of updated cases includes 153,000 infections and 20,752 deaths have been reported. There has been one slight relief with COVID-19 in that it doesn’t affect children, however, latest news reports that the NHS have now issued an urgent alert amid a worrying spike in the number of children being admitted to intensive care with a new coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome.
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In an alert sent to GPs, health chiefs at an NHS board in London announced: “There is growing concern that a COVID-19 related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK.”
Children are now being seen with a new symptom often suffering from abdominal pain, cardiac inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea.
The lack of infections amongst children has baffled doctors for weeks as children tend to be super-spreaders of viral illness such as flu.
Schools remained open well into the pandemic as they were deemed to less likely to suffer from a COVID-19 infection.
However, with this latest news, children could now be put on the vulnerable list.
Doctors have compared the mysterious condition they are suffering from to toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease which when combined could cause internal swelling, fever and breathing problems.
Officials have yet to address the alert and offer any further clarity, however a group of medics affiliated to the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health confirmed this could become a worrying issue.
The cause for this inflammatory syndrome in children is still not clear.
It also remains unclear how old children are who are being stuck down with this new symptom or if there are any clusters of cases in the UK.
It was reported in the Daily Mail that a memo, which was sent out by an NHS CCG in London and tweeted by the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said: “The cases have in common overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children.”
The alert warned GPs to refer children with symptoms including stomach pain as a matter of urgency.
If the condition turns out to be more widespread it could cause unprecedented danger to the current pandemic, which so far has appeared not to affect children.
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What is an inflammatory syndrome?
HSS said on their website: “Inflammation refers to a biological response to stimuli interpreted by the body to have a potentially harmful effect.
“While after injury or in certain conditions inflammation is a normal, healthy response, inflammatory disorders that result in the immune system attacking the body’s own cells or tissues and may cause abnormal inflammation, which results in chronic pain, redness, swelling, stiffness and damage to normal tissues.
Dr Elizabeth Whittaker, a paediatrician at St Mary’s Hospital said on twitter that medics in other countries have also reported a similar illness.
Dr Whittaker said: “Our Italian and Spanish colleagues also report it. Numbers are small but significant.
“We want primary care/A&E to be vigilant so those affected are in the right place to get appropriate supportive care if needed.”
Symptoms to look out for in children include redness of the tongue and rashes.
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