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Kawasaki Disease and COVID-19: What Families Need to Know

May 15, 2020, Koch, Josh, MD ,
Kawasaki Disease and COVID-19: What Families Need to Know

As experts learn more about COVID-19, a growing number of pediatric clinicians and researchers are looking at the links between COVID-19 and Kawasaki Disease, a pediatric multi-system inflammatory condition, which, at its most dangerous, can seriously impact a child’s heart. The disease has recently been reported in the United Kingdom and in New York City. Features of this disease share a lot in common with another disease we have treated for many years in pediatrics called Kawasaki Disease. Children with Kawasaki Disease have some of the following symptoms:

  1. Fever for at least five days
  2. Red eyes
  3. Red skin rash
  4. Strawberry red tongue
  5. Swollen lymph nodes
  6. Swelling/redness on the hands or bottoms of their feet

The biggest risk for these children is developing problems with their heart. Fortunately, effective treatments exist for Kawasaki Disease, and those treatments seem to be effective in treating this syndrome.

Not all patients who present with this new disease have active COVID-19 infections, but most have developed antibodies to COVID-19, which are formed by the body in order to fight the virus.

Many experts believe this syndrome is caused by those antibodies, which attack the patient’s blood vessels. This is also the problem in Kawasaki Disease.

Most patients believed to have this disease do not experience the symptoms that have become synonymous with COVID-19, like breathing problems or a cough. Instead, they may experience abdominal pain with vomiting or diarrhea, in addition to Kawasaki Disease-related symptomskoc, like long-lasting fevers, red eyes, tongue and skin rash, swollen lymph nodes and swelling and redness on the hands and bottoms of the feet.

If your child is experiencing these symptoms, seek medical care as soon as possible. To speak with an expert, please call the Phoenix Children’s Heart Center at 602-933-3366.

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