In France and the UK in particular, there is concern about the occurrence of a disease affecting the heart muscle of children who are infected with SARS-CoV-2. There is still no explanation for this.
Although it is generally believed that they are naturally protected from Covid-19, children today are threatened by a rare, complex and potentially serious disease, a disease that is close to what is known among experts as Kawasaki disease, named after a Japanese pediatrician who identified it more than half a century ago. Kawasaki Syndrome is a rare disease characterized by acute systemic inflammation. It affects children and can, in the most severe cases, lead to heart failure.
Just before France, the first alarm was raised in the United Kingdom by Matt Hancock, the Minister for Health and Welfare. “This is a new disease that we believe could be caused by the coronavirus,” he told LBC radio on 28 April, without in any way hiding his concern. We are not 100% sure because some of the people that are showing these symptoms themselves have not tested positive for the coronavirus. So we are doing a lot of testing now. But this is something that worries us”.
The British health authorities have so far only reported “a small number of cases”. ” Kawasaki is a very rare disease, but I think it is very likely that it is caused by this virus, at least in some cases,” said Chris Whitty, head of the health service, at the British government’s daily press conference on coronavirus on 27 April. On the same day, the British Pediatric Intensive Care Society (PICS) issued a warning from the UK’s public health service, the NHS England, about a slight increase in the number of seriously ill children; some of them are Covid-19 positive.
Rising no of cases presenting to #PedsICU with multi-system hyperinflammatory state, overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome & atypical Kawasaki disease, bloods consistent with severe #COVID19 – seen in both #SARSCoV2 PCR +ve AND -ve
Please share widely pic.twitter.com/Bj6YHLJ8zi
— PICSUK (@PICSociety) April 26, 2020
Five to twelve children in hospitals
The same phenomenon has recently been observed in France, in particular in some intensive care units in Paris. It has just been officially published. Olivier Véran, Minister for Solidarity and Health, says he is already “concerned”.
On Monday 27 April, the five pediatric intensive care units in the Ile-de-France region sent an alarm to the health authorities for the first time, according to Le Monde. Scientists, including the French Pediatric Society, the French-speaking Society of Rheumatology and Pediatric Internal Medicine and the French-speaking Pediatric Resuscitation and Emergency Group (GFRUP) also sent an alert to health authorities on Wednesday 29 April. In France, about 15 to 20 cases of children aged 2 to 15 have already been reported.