Australian doctors on alert after Kawasaki disease in children linked to Covid-19

Australian paediatric doctors will change their approach to children with a little understood illness that causes blood vessels to become inflamed and in some cases leads to heart disease, following overseas reports that Covid-19 may be associated with the rare condition. Since the pandemic, emergency room presentations and general practitioner visits have dropped significantly as people stay inside and areless likely to catch many infections, but Kawasaki rates have remained unchanged, Burgner said. “The adults who have been getting very unwell and dying in the second week around day seven have pathology results that show a lot is happening in the blood vessels in the lungs, rather than the air sacs themselves. So these severe symptoms in some children is in keeping with the idea this virus is unusual and causes lots of problems in blood vessels.” But he urged parents not to panic, saying toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki are extremely rare. Children with Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome often have fever with a skin rash that does not change when it is pressed, and breathing difficulties. Children are given intravenous immunoglobulin from donated blood, which reduces their chance of developing heart issues from one-in-four, to one-in-20. Associate Prof Luregn Schlapbach, paediatric intensive care specialist at Queensland children’s hospital in Brisbane, stressed if a child developed toxic shock it was still much more likely to be the result of a common bacteria such as staph or strep. We don’t yet know.” An intensive care specialist at Nepean hospital, Dr Ian Seppelt, said it was important parents knew that there were no reported in Australia. “I don’t think Australian parents need have any concerns about these reports at present … the British are not sure if this is Covid related or not.” Paediatric infectious diseases specialist with Perth children’s hospital, Dr Asha Bowen agreed.