Kawasaki disease cases raise question as COVID-19 rages on

Medical experts are worrying about the recent rise of Kawasaki disease cases that they believe have link to COVID-19.

A recent report reveals a sharp increase in cases of Kawasaki disease in New York City. The report adds that at least fifteen children have reportedly contracted this rare disease.

In the United Kingdom, several reports claim children are contracting the disease. What is even more surprising, is that medical experts believe that these cases are linked with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Citing the recent surge of this rare disease and its possible link to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City Health Department deputy commissioner Dr. Demetre Daskalakis writes:

“A pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, recently reported by authorities in the United Kingdom, is also being observed among children and young adults in New York City and elsewhere in the United States.”

What is Kawasaki disease?

Kawasaki disease is a rare form of illness that causes swelling and redness in its victim’s blood vessels. Children under the age of five are its most common victims.

The disease has two phase. During the first phase, symptoms will appear like bloodshot eyes, red lips, pink rashes on the body, sore throat, swollen palms, and reddish tongue. The second phase usually starts with a fever accompanied by symptoms like joint pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

Cases of Kawasaki disease are fairly easy to handle, especially during its early phase. However, severe cases may include symptoms like aneurysm, abnormal heartbeat patterns, and inflammation of heart muscles.

Doctors and medical experts are still unsure what causes Kawasaki disease. However, data gathered about the disease shows that it does not spread from person to person. While the disease is fairly common among children that are of Korean or Japanese descent, it can affect any child.

Is it related to COVID-19?

Experts are still not sure whether the surge in cases of Kawasaki disease has a link to the current pandemic. The two diseases show fairly common symptoms. Additionally, due lack of data experts trace the connection between the two diseases.

The coronavirus mainly targets the lungs and respiratory system. On the other hand, inflammation of coronary arteries are common to patients with severe case of Kawasaki. Because of these common symptoms, doctors are very careful in diagnosing patients, especially children.

Experts are still not sure whether Kawasaki disease is related to COVID-19. The similarities of the symptoms are what makes it difficult for medical experts to make a proper diagnosis.

Image courtesy of National Cancer Institute/Unsplash

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