A mysterious new coronavirus-related illness has hit the headlines in recent weeks, after several cases were seen in children across the globe.
The illness is being described as an ‘inflammatory syndrome’, similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.
Now, doctors across the UK have pooled their data to reveal the true extent of the mysterious condition, which has been termed Paediatric Inflammatory Multi-System Syndrome (PIMS).
In the study, the researchers looked at data on 78 children who were admitted to 15 intensive care units over a six week period between April and May 2020.
Data showed that 78% of the children admitted were Black, Asian, or Minority Ethnic children.
A fever was present in all cases, as well as a variety of other symptoms, including shock, vomiting and abdominal pain.
While the majority of children were discharged from hospital within one week, sadly two children died.
Dr Patrick Davies, lead researcher and Consultant Paediatric Intensivist at the Nottingham Children’s Hospital said: “The vast majority of the critically ill children we describe had a short stay in PICU and were thankfully discharged.
“Although it can cause significant illness, this condition appears to be rare. The key to successful treatment is close collaboration between many specialties”.
Delving deeper into the data, the team revealed that most of the children didn’t have active evidence of Covid-19.
However, they did have antibodies for the disease, indicating they had been infected in the recent past.
Dr Padmanabhan Ramnarayan, senior author and Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care Retrieval at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) said: “This is a new condition and, in just a matter of weeks, clinicians across the world have already made tremendous progress in understanding it.
“However, many aspects of the condition remain unclear, such as why it only affects some children or what the long-term implications of having this condition are.
“One of our findings is that complications such as coronary aneurysms do occur in a small minority of patients.
“This clearly highlights the importance of following up on these patients – and this will be high on the agenda for clinical teams at GOSH and elsewhere.”