Some kids in Europe dying from syndrome possibly linked to Covid-19
LONDON: Some children in Britain with no underlying health conditions have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome that researchers believe to be linked to Covid-19, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said yesterday.
Italian and British medical experts are investigating a possible link between the pandemic and clusters of severe inflammatory disease among infants who are arriving in hospital with high fever and swollen arteries.
Doctors in northern Italy, one of the world's hardest-hit areas, have reported extraordinarily large numbers of children under nine with severe cases of what appears to be Kawasaki disease, more common in parts of Asia.
"There are some children who have died who didn't have underlying health conditions," Mr Hancock told LBC Radio.
"It's a new disease that we think may be caused by coronavirus; we're not 100 per cent sure because some of the people who got it hadn't tested positive, so we're doing a lot of research now, but it is something we are worried about."
Children were until now thought to be much less susceptible than their parents or grandparents to the most deadly complications wrought by the virus, though the mysterious inflammatory disease noticed in Britain, Spain and Italy may demand a reassessment.
"It is rare, though it is very significant for those children who do get it. The number of cases is small," Mr Hancock, one of the ministers leading Britain's Covid-19 response, said.
He did not give an exact figure for the number of deaths.
Kawasaki disease, whose cause is unknown, is associated with fever, skin rashes, swelling of glands, and in severe cases, inflammation of arteries of the heart.
Britain's National Health Service says the syndrome affects about eight in every 100,000 children every year, with most aged under five.
There is some evidence that individuals can inherit a predisposition to the disease, but the pattern is not clear.
Parents should be vigilant, junior British interior minister Victoria Atkins said.
"It demonstrates just how fast moving this virus is and how unprecedented it is in its effect," she told Sky News. - REUTERS