Children with Kawasaki disease often not testing positive for Covid, chief scientist of WHO reveals

WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan has said there is still no clear link between coronavirus and the disease

Children with a ‘strange’ inflammatory condition, that doctors feared was linked to Covid-19, are often not testing positive for the virus, the chief scientist of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said.

Last week a 14-year-old boy with no underlying health conditions became the first British child to die from what is thought to be Kawasaki disease.

Symptoms of the syndrome include swollen blood vessels, fever, rash, red eyes, dry or cracked lips or mouth, redness in the palms and on the soles of the feet, and swollen glands.

538prom精品视频在线播放The rare syndrome is believed to be an overreaction of the immune system to infection and there have been a cluster of cases in south-east London.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on doctors around the world to share information on this rare syndrome, but chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said there was still no clear link between coronavirus and the disease.

538prom精品视频在线播放Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Dr Swaminathan said: “Very recently there have been some reports of children getting admitted with a strange syndrome, something that looks like sepsis, something that looks like a disease called Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation in the blood vessels. 

538prom精品视频在线播放“Now, it's not very clear what the links are between Covid-19 and this syndrome. There are some children who tested positive for the virus and some who haven't. 

538prom精品视频在线播放“The WHO has discussed this with a group of international paediatricians about how to approach this, and the need to collect more data. We put out a note two days ago, which requests doctors to provide information in a standardised format so that we can quickly learn as much as possible about the syndrome.

538prom精品视频在线播放“But again to re-emphasise the risks to children are extremely low with this infection, and there have not been many cases.”

Last week doctors in northern Italy reported a 30-fold increase in cases of the Kawasaki-like disease in one of the regions that was worst hit by Covid-19.

Eighty per cent of the cases in Bergamo tested positive for past evidence of the virus, in findings described as ‘the first clear evidence of a link’.

Several cases of the new disease - provisionally called multi-system inflammatory syndrome - have now been identified in Europe and the United States. 

538prom精品视频在线播放At a WHO press conference last week Dr Maria van Kerkhove, technical lead for Covid-19, said the syndrome was rare but the organisation had received an increasing number of reports.

538prom精品视频在线播放WHO has put together a case-reporting tool for doctors to share information about the condition to enable better understanding of it. 

Dr Mike Ryan, WHO assistant director general, sought to reassure parents and children over the emergence of the new disease - he said that as the number of cases of coronavirus increases worldwide, the likelihood of seeing unusual syndromes and presentations increases.

“This does not represent a change in the way the disease behaves,” he said at the press conference.

“It’s very important we pursue it, it’s very important we understand it but it’s very important that parents and children understand this does not reflect a fundamental change in the way the disease presents in children.”

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