A new condition is emerging in children who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Around 100 children in New York City have been hospitalized with a new inflammatory disease, doctor’s think COVID-19 could be the virus that is sparking the disease.
“It’s not COVID-19 that’s causing this directly, it’s an immune response that’s triggered by COVID-19,” said Dr. Grant Niskanen, the Vice President for Medical Affairs at Sky Lakes Medical Center.
Dr. Niskanen, likened the new disease to Kawasaki Disease, which can be triggered by other viruses and causes blood vessels in the heart to become inflamed, damaged and can lead to aneurysms. However, while similar, this new disease has some unique traits that differ from Kawasaki Disease.
“It seems to have a component to it of hypertension, it’s almost like a toxic shock syndrome,” said Dr. Niskanen.
Another difference from Kawasaki Disease is the age range that’s most vulnerable. Kawasaki Disease usually affects children younger than 5 years old but this new disease affects children between the ages of 5 and 14.
According to Dr. Niskanen, one of the theories as to why older children are more vulnerable is because they have stronger immune systems.
“it’s an immune response that’s triggered by COVID-19 and that’s why you maybe see this more in children than adults, because they have a much more robust immune system,” said Dr. Niskanen, “It also may be why you don’t see the young children getting it, because ages five to teenagers have this robust immune system and that may be what’s triggering the attack on the blood vessels.”
Of the roughly 100 cases reported in New York City, three children have died.
“These kids come in with high fevers, they have this vasculitis inflammation affecting multiple organs and they have low blood pressure hypertension,” said Dr. Niskanen.