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Cases of seven children investigated for inflammatory disease linked to Covid-19

Cases of the Kawasaki-like syndrome have been observed in children in the UK, US and Italy.

Dr Tony Holohan provided the latest updates on Covid-19 in Ireland this evening.
Dr Tony Holohan provided the latest updates on Covid-19 in Ireland this evening.
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

IRELAND’S CHIEF MEDICAL officer Dr Tony Holohan has said the cases of seven children in the country have been investigated for links to the Kawasaki-like inflammatory syndrome associated with Covid-19.

Medics in several countries have reported seeing a “multi-system inflammatory syndrome” in children in a small number of cases during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The symptoms of this syndrome are consistent with rare condition Kawasaki disease. This is a condition which manly affects children under 5, and can cause a rash, swollen glands, dry cracked lips, red fingers or toes or red eyes.

In an alert issued to British GPs last month, it noted a rise in such cases and a similar warning was issued by health authorities in New York this month. Last weekend, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said three young people in the state may have died of the “Covid-related illness”.

The World Health Organization put out an alert about the potential links between the syndrome and Covid-19 on 28 April, which was acknowledged by health authorities here including Holohan. At that stage, no suspected cases of this condition had been identified.

However, at the daily Department of Health briefing tonight, the chief medical officer said a rapid alert had been issued by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and that authorities would raise awareness of this possible syndrome among all health staff.

Holohan also said that up to seven children in Ireland had been investigated for links to this particular disease.

Kawasaki disease is a very rare condition affecting around 15 in every 100,000 children in Ireland generally. Doctors have been investigating if recent cases of symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease are related to the pandemic. 

A study published this week in The Lancet says that there is an association between the Covid-19 outbreak and this inflammatory condition, specifically in relation to a small number of cases cases opbserved in Italy.

The researchers do caution, however, that their study is based on a small number of cases and larger studies will be needed to confirm this association.

They also warn that other countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic might expect to see a similar rise in cases similar to Kawasaki Disease.

In this week’s episode of TheJournal.ie‘s The Explainer podcast, we look at what this syndrome is, the most up-to-date information on it and what Irish medical experts have to say.

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Source: The Explainer/SoundCloud

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Sean Murray

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