US doctors warned about coronavirus disease in children

A coronavirus-related inflammatory condition to which children are vulnerable is raising concerns in the US, as it has in Europe Credit: Ian West/PA

The federal Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned doctors about a serious rare inflammatory condition in children linked with the coronavirus.

In an alert issued on Thursday, the CDC called the condition multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children.

The agency’s case definition includes current or recent Covid-19 infection or exposure to the virus, a fever of at least 100.4 for at least 24 hours, severe illness requiring hospital admission, inflammatory markers in blood tests, and evidence of problems affecting at least two organs that could include the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin or other nervous system.

The name and definition are similar to those used in Europe, where the condition was first reported several weeks ago.

The condition has been reported in at least 110 New York children and in several in other states, with several children having died.

Some children may have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease, a rare condition in children that can cause swelling and heart problems.

Reported cases have all involved children but the CDC said it was unknown if the condition can occur in adults.

Doctors have been told to be on the lookout for the condition and report suspected cases to local or state health departments.

It should be suspected in all deaths in children who had evidence of Covid-19 infection, the CDC said.

Children are less likely than adults to develop Covid-19 and their illnesses usually are less severe, although they can spread the disease without showing symptoms.