Doctors puzzled over rare COVID-19 related illness affecting children

San Antonio doctor advises parents monitor children for inflammatory syndrome

SAN ANTONIO – Another twist in the COVID-19 pandemic is frightening parents and doctors alike. It’s an inflammation syndrome much like a rare condition called Kawasaki Disease that is showing up in children in the United States.

The official name for the new outbreak among children in New York is pediatric multi-inflammatory state. It is similar to another condition called toxic shock syndrome.

Once admitted for swelling, fever and rash, doctors are finding most of the children either test positive for COVID-19, or more surprising for their parents, they test positive for the antibodies, meaning at some point they have already been infected and fought the disease back.

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Dr. Elaine Maldonado, a pediatric cardiologist with UT Health Science Center San Antonio says doctors are learning a lot.

“Most of the patients that they’ve sent us information about really didn’t know they had Covid-19. They didn’t have those symptoms before these symptoms started,“ she explained.

In fact, information out of Italy and China lack much mention of any unique inflammatory component for kids.

Meanwhile, it has shown up in England. It’s another sign that this novel coronavirus remains largely a medical mystery and is in the early stages of understanding in the medical world.

In San Antonio, there has not been a single case reported of this Kawasaki-like inflammatory process, but Maldonado wants parents to be on the lookout for symptoms.

“It's not as acute as Kawasaki's, and maybe the fevers won't be so high or so persistent. But parents do need to be aware that they should get their children evaluated if they notice a rash, fever or swelling of the hands and feet,” she said.

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Medical attention is crucial since this type of inflammation can have a serious effect on a child's heart.

The numbers for coronavirus in San Antonio children have been extremely low, but then again, they likely would not be showing any symptoms initially of the coronavirus itself.

Maldonado said it’s another reason why parents should stay calm and keep washing their hands.

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