Researchers in Lombardy – the northern region in Italy that was hit hardest in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak – studied 10 pediatric cases with symptoms such as a full body rash and swollen hands and feet. Over the last five years, just 19 children were admitted to hospital with the symptoms resembling Kawasaki Disease, but in a hugely worrying development, admissions for these symptoms over the last two months has surged 30-fold from what is normally seen. More alarmingly, four out of five (80 percent) of the children admitted to hospital this year tested positive for the deadly coronavirus antibodies.
The new disorder, dubbed ‘Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19’, resembles Kawasaki Disease, which inflames the walls of the blood vessels and usually impacts children under five years old.
The cause of the condition remains a mystery, but it is believed to be an overreaction to an infection from the immune system.
But it can attack multiple organs, impair heart function and weaken heart arteries.
In the Bergamo province, just 19 children were diagnosed with Kawasaki Disease since 2015, but from February 18 until April 20 this year, there were at least 10 cases in children with the emerging syndrome.
Dr Lucio Verdoni, a pediatric rheumatologist at Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII in Bergamo and co-author of the study, said: “We noticed an increase in the number of children being referred to our hospital with an inflammatory condition similar to Kawasaki Disease around the time the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak was taking hold in our region.
“Although this complication remains very rare, our study provides further evidence on how the virus may be affecting children.
“Parents should follow local medical advice and seek medical attention immediately if their child is unwell. Most children will make a complete recovery if they receive appropriate hospital care.”
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The first coronavirus antibody test kit has been approved by Public Health England (PHE).
An antibody test can detect if a person has had coronavirus before and has since recovered, and has been regarded as essential for reopening the UK from the pandemic lockdown.
Swiss healthcare company Roche developed antibody kits with 100 percent accuracy.
This accuracy has now been confirmed by experts from PHE’s Porton Down facility last week.
And now the Department of Health is in negotiations with Roche to buy millions of the testing kit.
Roche said they stand ready to provide hundreds of thousands of laboratory-based tests to the NHS each week.
Published at Thu, 14 May 2020 06:36:00 +0000