Doctors must report cases of kids with signs of severe immune disorder

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Doctors encountering children who may have symptoms of a severe immune disorder purportedly linked to Covid-19 should report the cases to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) and the National University Hospital (NUH).

The Ministry of Health (MOH) is working with the two hospitals to monitor the situation.

"We have advised medical practitioners to refer potential cases that present with clinical features suggestive of Kawasaki-like symptoms to the Children's Emergency at KKH and NUH, and be watchful for this condition in paediatric cases who are confirmed with Covid-19 cases," MOH said yesterday.

According to NUH's website, symptoms of Kawasaki disease include redness in the eyes and rashes.

MOH added that such a condition in children remains very rare, and information is still emerging on its link to Covid-19.

Western health authorities last Friday sounded the alarm on a severe immune disorder appearing in children, apparently linked to the coronavirus sweeping the globe.

At least five children - three in New York, and one each in France and Britain - have died from the syndrome, according to a report by news agency Agence France-Presse.

MOH said that as of last Thursday, all children in public hospitals in Singapore who have tested positive for coronavirus had either mild or no symptoms of Covid-19.

"Of these, none had fit the case definition for Kawasaki disease," the ministry said.

Kawasaki disease (or syndrome) is named after Japanese paediatrician Tomisaku Kawasaki, who first described the condition in Japan in 1967.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said last Friday that the continent had seen some 230 suspected cases of the so-called paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (Pims) in children up to 14 years old.

It added that signs and symptoms that appear in affected children are a mix of the ones for Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, involving high fever, abdominal pain and heart problems.

US health officials have also asked doctors to report potential cases, and New York, the epicentre of the Covid-19 infection in the country, is monitoring more than 100 cases of the disorder.