NHS doctors are warning about the possible link between the coronavirus outbreak and inflammatory symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease.
More than a dozen children have fallen ill with a new and potentially fatal combination of symptoms apparently linked to Covid-19, including a sore stomach and heart problems.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on April 27 that he was "very worried" about the new "inflammatory condition", as top doctor Prof Chris Whitty said it's plausible the new condition is triggered by Covid-19.
NHS doctors received an alert in April, warning of a rise in children ending up in intensive care with a life-threatening inflammatory syndrome, similar to toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease.
Kawasaki disease primarily affects children under five years of age and can trigger symptoms including swollen glands in the neck, rashes and red fingers and toes.
Although it mainly affects children, Kawasaki disease can also be found in adults – however the chances of this is typically very low.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) have now issued a statement and traffic light checklist to help parents who are concerned about the Kawasaki disease-like illness linked to Covid.
New diseases may present in ways that surprise us
Professor Russell Viner, President of the RCPCH, said: "We already know that a very small number of children can become severely ill with Covid-19 but this is very rare – evidence from throughout the world shows us that children appear to be the part of the population least affected by this infection.
"New diseases may present in ways that surprise us, and clinicians need to be made aware of any emerging evidence of particular symptoms or of underlying conditions which could make a patient more vulnerable to the virus.
"However our advice remains the same: parents should be reassured that children are unlikely to be seriously ill with Covid-19 but if they are concerned about their children's health for any reason, they should seek help from a health professional."
The organisation have also released a traffic light checklist to help parents who are concerned if their child is displaying symptoms.
They point out that if your child is unwell it is likely to be a non-coronavirus illness, rather than coronavirus itself.
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However, they remind people that NHS 111, GPs and hospitals are still providing the same safe care that they have always done.
On their traffic light checklist, if parents notice their child has symptoms under the red section – they urge them to go to the nearest A&E department or phone 999.
If their child has signs under the amber section, they say you need to speak to a doctor or nurse as soon as possible by ringing your GP surgery or calling NHS 111.
If none of the features are present in the amber or red sections, the RCPCH say you can continue providing your child’s care at home.
But if you are still concerned about your child, call NHS 111 – dial 111.
You can see their full traffic light checklist here.
The checklist doesn't set out all the signs which suggest a person may have Kawasaki disease.
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Lips which appear to be dry and cracked
- Red eyes
- Red fingers and toes
- A high temperature that lasts for over five days
If these symptoms are found in children, the advice is to seek urgent medical attention.
Each year, an estimated eight in every 100,000 children develop Kawasaki disease, according to figures from the NHS.
The blood vessels become swollen which can lead to complications in the coronary arteries (the blood vessels which supply blood to the heart).
Kawasaki disease can cause aneurysms which can lead to a heart attack and heart disease.
In less likely cases, internal bleeding can be caused when the aneurysm bursts.
Around 25 per cent of cases go on to experience heart complications, which can result in fatality in about two to three per cent of cases if not treated.
The cause of Kawasaki disease is currently unknown and it is not contagious.
The NHS states that a child may be likely to be affected if they inherit certain genes from their parents.
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