Duke University doctors keeping an eye on rare pediatric syndrome possibly linked to COVID-19

Coronavirus

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – There are a growing number of children and young adults being hospitalized in New York City with a rare syndrome possibly linked to the coronavirus.

According to the New York State Department of Health, as of May 5, 64 suspected pediatric clinical cases compatible with multi-system inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 have been reported in children in New York State hospitals, including New York City.

Health experts say the pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome causes severe redness in eyes, painful rashes, abdominal pain, high fevers, and chest tightness.

CBS 17 spoke to a pediatric doctor at Duke University Medical Center.

Dr. Kaveh Ardalan says they have not seen any cases at the hospital, but are actively in touch with researchers around the world to better understand the illness.

“Our group has been sending information back and forth and discussing it at our weekly conferences that we have at Duke. So we are definitely discussing it and trying to be ready in case we have cases,” said Ardalan.

He said the illness is similar to two known diseases: Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. The type of condition would usually require collaboration with multiple specialists.

“First is, folks are still studying to what extent this is related to COVID-19. Not all of the kids who develop this…[have] necessarily been sure to have COVID-19 exposure, but a decent large proportion has” Ardalan said, “so that’s the first thing that needs to be understood. Is this COVID-19 driven or is there some other virus or another trigger?”

Ardalan said the second thing to note is that the symptoms involve inflammation of the heart and its blood vessels, as well as the gastrointestinal tract.

He said parents should not panic right now.

“I would just say take care of your kids as you usually do, but I wouldn’t take any new or special precautions beyond what we are already doing with the stay-at-home orders and adhering to public health guidance,” said Ardalan.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories

Click here for full list of trending stories