Coronavirus: Up to 100 UK children affected by new inflammatory disease linked to COVID-19

Up to 100 children have been affected by a rare inflammatory disease linked to coronavirus, a medical expert has said. (Getty Images)

Up to 100 children have been affected by a rare inflammatory disease linked to coronavirus, a medical expert has said.

Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said “75 to 100” children in the UK had been affected by the illness, which is similar to Kawasaki disease.

But he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that while parents should be aware of the disease, they do not need to be “too concerned”.

He said: “We can count the number of children that have died with coronavirus on the fingers of two hands, compared to over 30,000 in adults. And that tells us most of what we need to know.

“This is a new syndrome. It appears to be happening mostly after coronavirus infection, we believe it’s where the body’s immune system overreacts to coronavirus.”

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He said there were “very few cases, 75 to 100 across the country”, adding: “The important thing to say is most are being treated well, many are going home, most haven’t gone to intensive care units.”

Prof Viner’s comments come after a teenage boy with no underlying health conditions died from a Kawasaki-like disease linked to coronavirus.

The 14-year-old was part of a cluster of eight cases treated at the Evelina London Children's Hospital over a 10-day period in April and tested positive for COVID-19 following his death.

New York governor Andrew Cuomo has also said that New York is investigating around 100 cases of an inflammatory syndrome relating to children, which has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock.

He has advised all hospitals to prioritise coronavirus testing for children presenting with symptoms after three children in the state died.

The NHS lists the characteristic symptoms of Kawasaki disease as including a high temperature that lasts for five days, with a rash, swollen glands in the neck, dry and cracked lips, red fingers or toes, and red eyes.

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