Doctors in Europe are working to determine if the coronavirus could be linked to rare cases of young children dying from an inflammatory condition that leads to high fevers and swollen arteries, a report said.
Matt Hancock, the U.K.’s health secretary, said Tuesday that some of the children who died had no underlying conditions. These cases were documented in Italy and Britain, according to Reuters.
“It’s a new disease that we think may be caused by coronavirus and the COVID-19 virus, but we’re not 100 percent sure because some of the people who got it hadn’t tested positive, so we’re doing a lot of research now, but it’s something we’re worried about,” he told LBC Radio, according to the report. Doctors have urged parents not to panic and said instances are rare.
Doctors in Italy noticed cases in an “extraordinarily large” number of children under nine years old. The disease was compared to Kawasaki disease.
“It’s increasingly recognized that Covid-19 hasn’t read the textbook about what it should be doing as a respiratory virus,” Prof David Burgner, a paediatric and infectious diseases doctor at Melbourne’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, told the Guardian. “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. Toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki affects the blood vessels. 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.”