New Kawasaki-Like Illness in Children is Linked to COVID-19 and More Common in Blacks
In April, researchers from the UK and several European countries recognized a new inflammatory syndrome affecting children with COVID-19. The researchers found stark similarities between the syndrome and Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory disease that affects children. However, a new study has finally established that though the symptoms of the illness are somewhat similar to those of Kawasaki disease, it is a completely different condition.
The new condition has been named Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome Temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS), and is believed to be extremely rare. Less than 200 cases were reported in England, with symptoms ranging in severity and largely non-life threatening. So far, most children with the syndrome have recovered.
The study authors say although the syndrome is rare, it could result in long-lasting damage to the arteries that supply blood to the heart- the coronary arteries.
PIMS-TS typically affects older children (aged 9 years on average), unlike Kawasaki disease that affects children aged 5 years or under. Furthermore, PIMTS-TS presents more often with abdominal pain, diarrhea, and persistent fever than Kawasaki disease. It also affects Blacks and Asians more commonly than other populations.
While the team could categorically say that PIMS-TS is caused by COVID-19, they noted that more than 75 percent of the children reviewed had a current or previous history of COVID-19. Most of these children also had antibodies to the coronavirus, suggesting that the disease occurs as a complication of COVID-19, potentially as a result of an overactive immune response.