Deadly child fever is Covid: Youngsters hit by inflamed blood vessels had the coronavirus, study findsThe deadly inflammatory syndrome has similar symptoms to Kawasaki disease A common feature of the disease is the inflammation of heart and blood vesselsA study of eight cases has revealed that the syndrome is caused by coronavirus  NHS England has sent out an urgent alert to GPs to recognise the disease Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A deadly new inflammatory syndrome in children is caused by coronavirus, a study revealed yesterday.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said last week that he was ‘very worried’ by an NHS alert over a serious autoimmune response.

The study into eight cases of children admitted to intensive care with coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome found that all tested positive for virus antibodies – showing they have previously had Covid-19, often without displaying symptoms.

A study revealed that a new deadly inflammatory syndrome in children in caused by coronavirus

Experts said the study, published in The Lancet, supports the view that the virus is the cause. 

The children, aged four to 14, were all treated in intensive care at Evelina London Children’s Hospital in mid-April. One, a previously healthy 14-year-old boy, died of a stroke after being admitted.

Seven of the eight were clinically obese and six were from Bame (black, Asian and minority ethnic) backgrounds. All had ‘unrelenting fever, rash and generalised extremity pain’, vomiting and diarrhoea.

A common clinical feature was inflammation of the heart and blood vessels, which caused one child to have a ‘giant coronary aneurysm’ after being discharged. 

The disease has affected children from a variety of backgrounds with inflammation of the heart and blood vessels being a common feature

While all tested positive for virus antibodies, nearly all had tested negative for the active virus in swab tests while in hospital. 

Scientists said this raised the possibility that the symptoms are part of a delayed immune response to the infection in children.

The study, led by consultant paediatrician Dr Shelley Riphagen, said a further 12 children with similar symptoms have since been treated. Dr Jeremy Rossman, a virologist at the University of Kent, said the findings were ‘very concerning’.

NHS England has informed GPs via an urgent alert that the symptoms are similar to Kawasaki disease which can lead to aneurysms and heart attacks

NHS England has sent an urgent alert to GPs warning that symptoms are similar to Kawasaki disease – a rare illness that triggers inflammation in the walls of the blood vessels. It can lead to aneurysms and heart attacks.

Dr Mike Linney, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: ‘All of these children were extremely unwell, with features suggestive of sepsis such as a persistently high temperature coupled with rapid breathing, cold hands and feet and sleepiness.’

Dr Sanjay Patel, a consultant at Southampton Children’s Hospital, said: ‘It’s important to keep this in perspective. It’s a very rare condition and parents shouldn’t be alarmed. It remains extremely unlikely that a child will become unwell with Covid-19, and it’s even more unlikely that a child will become unwell with this condition.’

Latest coronavirus video news, views and expert advice at mailplus.co.uk/coronavirus

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