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A British mom is speaking out after her son reportedly developed a rare condition that’s possibly associated with current or recent COVID-19 infections in children.
Hannah Fields, of Leeds, told the news outlet South West News Service that her 5-year-old son, Harry, was hospitalized with a rare Kawasaki disease-like condition that doctors in the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere suspect may be an unusual complication of the novel coronavirus striking mainly in children.
In late April, the 26-year-old mom rushed her son to the hospital after he developed a high temperature and sore throat, and complained of having no appetite and a general lack of energy. The young boy also experienced stomach pains.
Harry’s condition worsened less than a week after he was misdiagnosed with tonsillitis, Fields told the outlet.
At the hospital, the 5-year-old tested negative for COVID-19 — but doctors suspected he “likely had the disease some weeks earlier,” according to SWNS.
Doctors discovered that the boy’s heart rate was elevated— reportedly measuring 169 beats per minute (bpm), well above the normal rate of 90 to 110bpm. Further tests revealed inflammation in his heart, kidney, and bowels.
Over the next few days, Harry was treated with steroids, antibiotics, and fluids, SWNS reported. He was released from the hospital earlier this month and has since been recovering at home. However, the 5-year-old still requires aspirin and regular heart scans.
“What we went through was absolutely terrifying,” said Fields. “If Harry had been left untreated any longer, the outcome could have been very different. We were very lucky.
“I just want to make more people aware of the dangers, as I don’t think they know enough about how this virus can affect children,” she added.
Several children across the U.S. and abroad have developed the illness in recent weeks, with experts warning more cases of the Kawasaki disease-like inflammatory condition — dubbed “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children,” or MIS-C — are likely to emerge as the virus continues to spread. The syndrome has been said to affect children who test positive for a current or recent infection of SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The increasing number of cases even prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last week to issue an advisory regarding MIS-C.
Cases of MIS-C began to make headlines after British health authorities in a warning to health care professionals in late April said that some severely ill pediatric patients in the country — including some who were positive for the coronavirus — presented an “unusual clinical picture” that included inflammatory symptoms possibly linked to COVID-19.
The U.K. Pediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS), citing an email alert from the National Health Service (NHS) in England, said in a news release that health officials had reported, “a small rise in the number of cases of critically ill children presenting with an unusual clinical picture” at the time. More specifically, the news release said, it is a “multi-system inflammatory state” that may be connected to the novel virus.
“The cases have in common overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children. Abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms have been a common feature as has cardiac inflammation,” the NHS notice reads, according to PICS.
MIS-C can also cause persistent fever, rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea, among other symptoms such as a red tongue and eyes.
Dr. Jacqueline Szmuszkovicz, a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, recently said that children who have a fever that lasts for four or more days should seek medical attention.
“Certainly, if they see any of the other signs — the rash, the red tongue, red eyes — we encourage them to seek care,” she told The Los Angeles Times.