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27 April 2020updated 06 Oct 2020 9:45am

NHS warns of emergence of child illness that may be linked to coronavirus

By Samuel Horti

NHS England has warned that a rising number of children are having to attend hospital with an illness that can cause inflammation of heart muscle and may be related to coronavirus. 

GPs in London were sent an alert by their local NHS body that said: “Over the last three weeks, there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multisystem inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK.”

The alert, seen by the Health Service Journal, said that some children were presenting with stomach pains and cardiac inflammation, and that there were “growing concerns that a [Covid-19] related inflammatory syndrome” was on the rise. It noted that “there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases”.

The Paediatric Intensive Care Society posted text from a similar alert, sent by NHS England, on Twitter, which said that some children presenting with the illness had tested positive for Covid-19, but some had not. 

The number of cases is not known, but paediatric experts told the Health Service Journal that it remains low. Simon Kenny, NHS England’s national clinical director for children and young people, said it is “important that clinicians are made aware of any potential emerging links so that they are able to give children and young people the right care fast”.

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