Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said at least half a dozen cases of “Kawasaki-like syndrome” that might be related to the virus in children were being studied in SM.
Kawasaki-like syndrome is an inflammatory post-viral syndrome that has been reported in several young children during a coronavirus pandemic.
Henry said Monday, hundreds of cases of diseases such as Kawasaki had been detected worldwide, especially in places like Britain, Europe and the United States.
Henry stressed the disease is rarely seen but has caused the death of at least three children in the US.
“It certainly makes sense that COVID-19 could lead to this in some children,” Henry said.
“We do not yet have a confirmed case related to COVID-19 in the province but the investigation is still ongoing.”
Kawasaki is explained at HealthLinkBC as a rare childhood disease that affects blood vessels. This can damage the coronary arteries that carry blood to the heart.
“That is something we watch very, very carefully,” Henry said.
WATCH | Montreal and New York look at inflammatory syndrome in children
Pediatricians are looking for
Pediatricians and other health care providers in Canada are looking for children with rare inflammatory diseases as part of expanded surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr Theresa Tam, chief Canadian public health officer, said in early May that doctors had been notified of reports of the condition, called multisystem inflammatory vasculitis or a variant of Kawasaki syndrome.
Henry said the disease had made conditions that could be reported in BC, which meant doctors had to notify officers if they found it in a patient.
He said officials looked as far back as January to find possible cases.
Most likely B.C. will find some, he said, because it appears with other viral and bacterial infections. It tends to come with flu season.
He said the pediatrician at B.C. Children’s Hospital is looking at the situation.
CBC News requested comment from the hospital but was not immediately heard back.
Symptoms include fever, rash
HealthLinkBC describes the symptoms of Kawasaki as:
- The fever lasts at least five days.
- Red eye.
- Body rash.
- Puffy lips and tongue, red, broken.
- Swollen feet and hands, red.
- Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
Other symptoms that may arise include joint pain, diarrhea, low energy and peeling skin on the hands and feet.
“The symptoms can be severe for several days and can look scary to parents,” said HealthLinkBC. “But then most children return to normal activities.”
HelathLinkBC says parents who suspect their children have Kawasaki should get medical help.
Dr. Tam described some of the symptoms of multisystem inflammatory vasculitis as persistent fever; stomach ache; Gastrointestinal symptoms include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; and rashes and inflammation of the heart arteries.
Children with lower risk
Henry also emphasized that young children seem to be at least at risk of contracting COVID-19, and when they do, they seem to suffer less badly.
He said only about one percent of cases detected were children under 10 years.
There are less than 80 people under 19 who are diagnosed with COVID-19. Only three of them were hospitalized, none went to intensive care and no one died.
“So that’s good news,” he said.
Not only are children less likely to be infected, he said, but they are also less likely to transmit it. Adults are more likely to transmit the virus to children than vice versa.
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