NEW YORK (WABC) — Doctors in New York City are now sounding the alarm on a mysterious illness being seen in children.

The syndrome was first reported in Europe and is believed to be linked to COVID-19.

Doctors say 15 children have been hospitalized with symptoms similar to toxic shock syndrome or Kawasaki Disease.

The symptoms include inflammation of the blood vessels, including coronary arteries.

At least four of the children had diagnosed coronavirus.

Patients with this syndrome who have been admitted to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) have required cardiac and/or respiratory support. Officials say only severe cases may have been recognized at this time.

All patients, ages 2-15, had a subjective or measured fever and more than half reported rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, or diarrhea. Respiratory symptoms were reported in less than half of these patients.

More than half of the reported patients required blood pressure support and five required mechanical ventilation. No fatalities have been reported among these cases.

If those symptoms are seen in children, pediatricians are being told to immediately refer patients to a specialist in pediatric infectious disease, rheumatology, and/or critical care, as indicated.

Early diagnosis and treatment of patients meeting full or partial criteria for Kawasaki disease is critical to preventing end-organ damage and other long-term complications.

It’s found that patients meeting criteria for Kawasaki disease should be treated with intravenous immunoglobulin and aspirin.

Any patient who meets that criteria should immediately be reported to the NYC Health Department by

calling the Provider Access Line at 866-692-3641:

– Less than 21 years old, with persistent fever (four or more days), and either incomplete Kawasaki disease, typical Kawasaki disease, and/or toxic shock syndrome-like presentation; and

– No alternative etiology identified that explains the clinical presentation (note: patients should be reported regardless of SARS-CoV-2 PCR test result).

More information: https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/han/alert/2020/covid-19-pediatric-multi-system-inflammatory-syndrome.pdf

The health department says none of the patients with this syndrome in New York have died.

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