New illness in kids linked to COVID-19, deemed dangerous but treatable

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two Kentucky minors have a new COVID-19 related illness, referred to as Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome.

Dr. Steven Stack, public health commissioner, says its symptoms are similar to Kawasaki Syndrome, but not exactly the same thing since this new illness has to do with kids who have gotten the coronavirus.

“This is similar to Kawasaki Syndrome in some ways, it’s an inflammatory process that can involve multiple organs,” he said Tuesday.

“The children who get sick with this can have cardiovascular collapse and require supportive measures to maintain their blood pressure, respiratory collapse requiring breathing support with a mechanical ventilator,” Dr. Stack said. “As always I tried to frame these to put this in context for these individuals who have this this is very dangerous and life threatening.”

He continued to add there isn’t much information available at this time. Likely the first American kids getting it where reported in New York.

“What they’re reporting is that some of these children can have symptoms where they develop a rash, or they develop a fever that’s persistent for multiple days where they can have signs of weakness, fatigue, muscle aches, they can get the runny nose or watery eyes,” Stack said.

Some children have even reported stomach problems, gastrointestinal discomfort.

While Kawasaki Syndrome is now being used as a way to describe what this new illness is similar to, Kawasaki Syndrome itself isn’t an illness familiar to many.

A Lexington family care doctor, Dr. John Richard says Kawasaki Syndrome is rare.

“The risk of Kawasaki is in the population, such as this, is probably about 50 of 100,000, so it’s not very frequently seen illness, but one nonetheless it’s again difficult to treat because there is no real type of cure,” Dr. Richard said.

But Dr. Richard says the symptoms are treatable, which is a good sign for this new syndrome. So, parents should not panic, but rather stay vigilant.

 “It has been rare so far, but we also can’t turn a blind eye to it,” Dr. Richard said.

He also said if parents are worried, it’s always better to air on the side of caution and consult and physician.

You’re likely already doing what doctors recommend to protect your kids, washing your hands, wearing a mask, and staying home if you can.

The two Kentucky kids with this illness are both hospitalized, a 10-year-old in critical but improving condition, and a 16-year-old with less severe symptoms.

Dr. Stack said Tuesday he expects more resources for parents to be announced on Wednesday.


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