Europe sees two deaths, multiple cases of COVID-linked syndrome in children
GENEVA: A new life-threatening inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 has affected 230 children in Europe and killed two so far this year, a regional health body said on Friday, as medics worldwide were told to be on alert.
The Swedish-based European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in a risk report that two children had succumbed to the condition: one in Britain and one in France.
The new coronavirus has so far taken its greatest toll on the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, but reports about the syndrome in children have raised fears it could pose a greater risk to the young than first through.
At a briefing in Geneva, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urged clinicians to be alert to the rare syndrome, but cautioned that links to COVID-19 were still unclear.
The condition, known as paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS), shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation.
“I call on all clinicians worldwide to work with your national authorities and WHO to be alert and better understand this syndrome in children,” said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
On Friday, the WHO issued a preliminary definition of the syndrome, which it said had become more frequent during the current pandemic but has also appeared in children who did not test positive for COVID-19. – Reuters