Report appears to show link between Covid-19 and a rare inflammatory syndrome seen in children

A new report seems to show there is a link between Covid-19 and an emerging deadly inflammatory syndrome that affects some children.

A report published on Wednesday in medical journal The Lancet studied an “unprecedented cluster of eight children” who were admitted to hospital in April after exhibiting symptoms of toxic-shock syndrome.

According to the study, “four (of the) children had known family exposure to coronavirus” while all eight tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies.

But in response, a top scientist has urged caution, saying it was still too early to jump to conclusions regarding the link between the rare syndrome and Covid-19.

Last week, the World Health Organization asked its global network of clinicians to be on alert for the rare phenomenon which causes a toxic shock-style inflammatory reaction.

Children have been less affected by coronavirus than adults. Credit: PA

The alert came after UK medics noticed the syndrome emerging in some hospitalised children who had also been infected with Covid-19.

In response to the report in The Lancet, Jon Cohen, emeritus professor of infectious diseases at Brighton & Sussex Medical School, said "some caution is needed in jumping to the conclusion that this is ‘paediatric Covid’"

“During the week that the report was being peer reviewed, the same team saw another 12 patients.

All the patients tested negative for (Covid-19) but 10 of the 20 were positive for antibody, suggesting that they had been exposed at some time,” Prof Cohen said.

“Naturally (this) raises the suspicion of a ‘new’ clinical syndrome in children associated with coronavirus.

“This suspicion is underlined by the fact that six of the eight were of Afro-Caribbean descent, five were boys, and seven of the eight were clinically obese.

"These three characteristics align with several putative risk factors for coronavirus infection."

Schools remained closed. Credit: PA

In particular, Prof Cohen stressed that there is a wide variety of factors that could cause toxic-shock syndrome.

“The clinical syndrome described, that of atypical Kawasaki shock syndrome, or toxic-shock syndrome, can be precipitated by various stimuli and it is conceivable that this cluster was caused not by Covid but as a result of some other infective or non infective stimulus,” he said.

“Nevertheless, the media reports that followed the initial description of these cases resulted in similar clusters being described in several other specialist centres, lending credence to the fact that this is indeed a new, but thankfully rare, concerning clinical syndrome.”

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