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COVID-19: nurses told to report cases of unusual inflammation in children  

Alert comes after warnings of potential link between Kawasaki disease and COVID-19 in children  


Inflamed wrist and hand of a six-year-old girl with Kawasaki disease Picture: SPL

Nurses must inform paediatric critical care teams if a child presents with an unusual clinical picture consistent with COVID-19 symptoms, warns the Paediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS).

The warning comes after the government instructed medical experts to investigate a possible link between COVID-19 and Kawasaki disease.

Rise in the number of children presenting with atypical Kawasaki disease symptoms

Kawasaki disease causes swelling of the blood vessels of the heart, high fever and rash.

It mainly affects children under the age of five.

NHS England confirmed that it has alerted GPs that there has been a rise in the number of children presenting with features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19.

PICS has also released a statement to all UK healthcare professionals saying it is aware of a small number of cases who ‘appear to fit the clinical picture described in the NHS England alert’.

Symptoms to look out for include rash, cardiac inflammation, toxic shock and abdominal pain

A PICS spokesperson said: ‘If you are a healthcare professional and see children presenting with a picture of toxic shock or atypical Kawasaki disease then please discuss this case early with paediatric infectious disease or paediatric critical care teams via your usual pathways (often paediatric retrieval services).’

According to the NHS England alert, symptoms also include severe abdominal pain and inflammation of the heart.

However, NHS England stressed there is no confirmed connection between Kawasaki-related diseases and COVID-19.

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NHS England’s national clinical director for children and young people Simon Kenny said the Kawasaki-like disease is rare, as is COVID-19 in children.

‘It is important that clinicians are made aware of any potential emerging links so that they are able to give children and young people the right care fast,’ he added.


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