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'Can be Fatal': Many Delhi Hospitals See Rare Kawasaki-like Symptoms in Covid-19 Positive Kids

For representation only: Children of migrant workers wear protective masks inside a sports complex turned into a shelter in New Delhi. (Reuters)

For representation only: Children of migrant workers wear protective masks inside a sports complex turned into a shelter in New Delhi. (Reuters)

Kawasaki disease results in a fever and mainly affects children under the age of 5 years, and is a syndrome of unknown cause. It is a form of vasculitis, where blood vessels become inflamed throughout the body. The fever typically lasts for more than five days and is not affected by usual medications.

Several hospitals in Delhi have been seeing children infected with Covid-19 experiencing symptoms akin to those associated with a rare illness called Kawasaki disease, over the last few months.

Kawasaki disease results in a fever and mainly affects children under the age of 5 years, and is a syndrome of unknown cause. It is a form of vasculitis, where blood vessels become inflamed throughout the body. The fever typically lasts for more than five days and is not affected by usual medications.

Children's Hospital Kalawati Saran has now seen fix to six cases of children - who tested positive for coronavirus - experiencing fever, respiratory and gastrointestinal issues, rashes, the Indian Express reports.

Department head, Kalawati Saran, Dr Virendra Kumar said that these were the most common symptoms described globally and that while other viruses could lead to the syndrome, in the middle of the pandemic it was likely that the disease was related to Covid-19.

Kumar said that while it could not be clearly stated that the children were infected with Kawasaki, but that they had the Kawasaki-like symptoms, he told IE.

According to him, the kids had unexplained tachycardia and some of them were in a state of shock. He said all these positive cases were taken care of in the Covid care area, and that one of the patients had died.

Previously, in two studies in the New England Journal Medicine, Nearly 300 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), which is a rare, life-threatening syndrome in children and adolescents associated with coronavirus were identified in the United States.

MIS-C, shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation.

Dr Rachna Sharma, in-charge of the paediatric intensive care unit at BLK hospital told IE that it was not a direct effect of Covid-19 but instead an abnormal immune response induced by it. She said the multisystem inflammatory syndrome caused many digestive issues - there were children who had just pain in the abdomen, vomiting and loose motions.

However, she said, that if the symptoms were not recognised early on then the result could be fatal. BLK has seen two such cases in the last few months. Sharma added that some kids may also experience kidney failure.

Six such cases have seen at Sir Ganga Ram hospital. Four were infected with Covid-19 and the other two had not developed any antibodies against the disease.

Dr Dhiren Gupta, a paediatric intensivist at the hospital said that the syndrome disregulated the immune system and could affect the heart, intestine, live and kidney, adding that three of the said six cases required ICU admissions.

According to experts, timely diagnosis and intervention were key to recovery from the disease. When a 13-year-old boy, who was experiencing high fever and rashes, came to BLK hospital, he tested positive for Covid-19. He began to have increasing fever spikes with pain in the abdomen, vomiting and poor oral intake, the report states.

Dr Sharma recounts how the child became drowsy, with his blood pressure dropping. She said his hands and feet became cold and bluish; the disease had progressed into a serious situation situation where it was affecting his heart and kidney.

She said his blood reports for coronavirus were showing signs of severe disease, adding that in the "Covid multisystem inflammatory syndrome" the heart becomes affected in 50% to 60% of the cases, resulting in the kid going into shock.

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