The World Health Organisation (WHO) has confirmed it will probe the link between a multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adolescents temporally related to Covid-19.
In a statement, the WHO said: “Relatively few cases of infants confirmed to have Covid-19 have been reported; those who are infected have experienced mild illness. Robust evidence associating underlying conditions with severe illness in children is still lacking. Among 345 children with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 and complete information about underlying conditions, 23% had an underlying condition, with chronic lung disease (including asthma), cardiovascular disease, and immunosuppression most commonly reported.”
Reports from Europe and North America have described clusters of children and adolescents requiring admission to intensive care units with a multisystem inflammatory condition with some features similar to those of Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.
Children have been treated with anti-inflammatory treatment, including parenteral immunoglobulin and steroids.
The WHO is investigating whether the illness is localised to North America and Europe only.
“The clinical and laboratory features observed in children reported to date, and serves to identify suspected or confirmed cases both for the purpose of providing treatment and for provisional reporting and surveillance,” the organisation said.
It has noted the following symptoms in children:
- Rash or bilateral non-purulent conjunctivitis or muco-cutaneous inflammation signs (oral, hands or feet).
- Hypotension or shock.
- Features of myocardial dysfunction, pericarditis, valvulitis, or coronary abnormalities (including ECHO findings or elevated Troponin/NT-proBNP),
- Evidence of coagulopathy (by PT, PTT, elevated d-Dimers).
- Acute gastrointestinal problems (diarrhoea, vomiting, or abdominal pain).
Elevated markers of inflammation such as ESR, C-reactive protein, or procalcitonin.
No other obvious microbial cause of inflammation, including bacterial sepsis, staphylococcal or streptococcal shock syndromes.
Evidence of Covid-19 (RT-PCR, antigen test or serology positive), or likely contact with patients with Covid-19.
*Information obtained from WHO