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UK alert as possible coronavirus-related syndrome emerges in children

An NHS alert issued to doctors in England warns: “There is a growing concern that a [covid-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK."

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 26: Two girls under the age of 14 are seen just before leaving home for the first time in weeks as Spain eases lockdown rules for children on April 26, 2020 in Madrid, Spain. Children in Spain, which has had one of the stricter lockd
David BenitoGetty Images

An "urgent alert" issued to doctors in England has warned of the potential risk of a new coronavirus-related syndrome emerging in children in the UK.

Up to now, it was widely believed that Covid-19 had little-to-no impact on healthy children with no underlying conditions. Therefore, this latest development will come as a concern to parents, although the condition appears to be quite rare.

The NHS England alert sent to GPs, originally seen by the UK’s Health Service Journal (HSJ), states that in the “last three weeks, there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multisystem inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK”.

It adds: “There is a growing concern that a [covid-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK, or that there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases.”

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Feature of coronavirus-related illness in children

It is not known how many children have been affected. However the absolute number of children affected is believed to be small as the illness appears to be a rare complication. The condition has also been detected in children who have not tested posted for coronavirus.

The alert to GPs says that the illness has characteristics similar to those related with toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki Disease - which causes the blood vessels to become inflamed and swollen. Abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms and cardiac inflammation are also common features.


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