Kawasaki disease found in children post-COVID

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Reopening of schools in India has raised questions about rising number of Covid-19 cases in children. Less than 1% have shown to be affected by either Kawasaki Disease (KD) or Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in the recovery phase of the disease.

According to a report published by Down to Earth, Balram Bhargava, director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), last week said India did not have any such case. “This (KD or MIS-C) has been described with COVID-19 in different parts of the world. I don’t think we have had any experience of KD with COVID-19 in India at the moment,” he said.

However, there is much documentary and empirical evidence that has been reported from hospitals in Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi and Bengaluru, at least about the children being affected by these diseases. Papers have been published Indian Pediatrics, the 57-year-old journal of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics.

“We report a child with COVID-19 who had overlapping features of Toxic Shock Syndrome and KD,” the paper, authored by S Balasubramanian others, read. “It is likely that cytokine storm is one of the major causes of acute respiratory distress syndrome, multi-organ dysfunction and possibly pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome,” it added. This case was reported from Kanchi Kamakoti Childs Trust Hospital, Chennai.

Balasubramanian told Down to Earth, that at least 10 cases were reported between May and June, 2020.

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KD or MIS-C are resulted by a ‘cytokine storm’ in children, usually after a month of recovering from Covid-19. The ‘storm’ starts affecting the body tissues of children, while fighting with the virus. If it starts affecting the major systems of the body, it is termed as MIS-C.

“I have seen as many as 64 such cases in the last three months,” Dhiren Gupta, a paediatrician at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in New Delhi told Down to Earth. “At least 80 per cent of them required ICU care”, he added, pointing towards the severity of the disease.

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