ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A Missouri hospital has experienced a couple of cases of a disease that is now being linked to COVID-19 in children.
Doctors across the country have seen an outbreak of more than 100 cases of Kawasaki disease. The inflammatory illness causes blood flow issues to the heart. Three children have died.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis say it is extremely rare.
One of their cases came to them in early March before the pandemic became so widespread. A Phoenix 15-year-old came with his mother to St Louis to visit his grandparents for spring break. He developed what they thought was a cold and a mild fever.
His mother said he tested negative for COVID-19. He later developed a rash, had difficulty breathing and walking, and had a fever of 104.
At Children’s, he wasn’t tested for COVID-19 because the criteria were different then and testing wasn’t as widely available.
The teen was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease. He has mostly recovered but was left with an active aneurysm in his heart. He must take aspirin to prevent a stroke.
Doctors say they don’t know if coronavirus causes Kawasaki or an inflammatory illness similar to it.
Doctors only began seeing the spike in cases in late April. Many of the children who have Kawasaki are testing positive, but some are not. Doctors won’t truly know if they had COVID-19 until they are tested for antibodies.
Children’s Hospital Colorado is one of the nation’s research leaders of Kawasaki disease and this new mysterious illness.
“The message I want to say to parents…is there’s no need to panic,” said Dr. Sam Dominguez, an infectious disease expert at the hospital. “This is a very rare disease, but it’s something everyone should know about.”
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, 1,124 children up to 19 years old have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state. Doctors have not any confirmed case of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome in the Colorado to date.
“We don’t know how prevalent it is because it’s not a reportable illness,” said Dr. Reginald Washington, the medical director at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center. “I suspect we’re going to see a vast increase in children throughout the country with these symptoms.”