Coronavirus: Three children confirmed with rare inflammatory condition

Tony Holohan says Health Service Executive will be raising awareness of issue

Dr Tony Holohan said seven children were being investigated for a Kawasaki disease-like presentation.

Dr Tony Holohan said seven children were being investigated for a Kawasaki disease-like presentation.

Three children in the State have been confirmed as having had a rare inflammatory condition potentially linked to Covid-19.

All three children have recovered after being treated in hospital, according to Children’s Health Ireland.

There have been no further suspected cases since last week, when chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said seven children were being investigated for a Kawasaki-like presentation, a CHI spokeswoman said.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has issued an alert about suspected cases of a new paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (Pims) linked to Covid-19, after two deaths reported. More than 150 children in New York state have been reported as having the condition, about 10 times the normal number of cases that arise.

Pims shares similar disease characteristics to Kawasaki syndrome.

Dr Holohan, who said the HSE will be raising awareness on the issue, said it was a “very rare” condition, with an incidence rate of about 15 for every 100,000 children. He said said his advice was directed principally at clinicians, not parents.

“This is about considering when other conditions that might explain these symptoms have been ruled out to consider this possibility.

“We want clinicians to be more suspicious that this could be, in an unusual set of circumstances with a sick child, a possible explanation.”

Kawasaki disease, aka mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome, is a rare condition that mainly affects children under five years old. It causes a severe fever that does not respond to medication, and a variety of virus-like symptoms, including a rash, swollen glands and dry and cracked lips. The cause of Kawasaki disease, which was first diagnosed in 1967 by a Japanese doctor called Dr Tomisaku Kawasaki, is still unknown, and there is no single test or procedure that can confirm the diagnosis.

Pims has characteristics similar to those of Kawasaki disease. The children also showed at least two of the following symptoms: rash or signs of inflammation around the mouth, hands or feet; shock or low blood pressure; heart problems; evidence of bleeding disorder; and acute gastrointestinal problems.

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