In the course of the Covid 19 crisis, more and more children and adolescents around the world are showing symptoms of Kawasaki syndrome. A 14-year-old New Yorker talks about rashes, heart problems and the healing.
When Jack McMorrow noticed a rash on his hands in mid-April, he didn’t think anything of it. Not even his parents. They assumed that this was a reaction to the many hand washing and the disinfectants that are now part of the new everyday life in corona.
When the 14-year-old from Queens, New York, had glassy eyes, the parents thought he was spending too much time in front of the computer. But there was an abdominal pain and nausea, the child ate less and less. Finally there was a strong fever. The family doctor prescribed antibiotics.
After ten days, the teenager’s condition had continued to deteriorate, with a dry cough and a constant metallic taste in the mouth. And then one morning Jack just couldn’t move.
Only the second Covid 19 test was positive
“I was in a lot of pain, it was a sharp, throbbing pain,” Jack told The New York Times this morning. “It was as if someone had sprayed fire into my veins.”
Now the family doctor advised the parents to take the child to the Weill Cornell hospital. Jack arrived there with alarmingly low blood pressure, a racing heart and a fever of over 40 degrees. A rash had also formed on the 14-year-old’s feet – a symptom that many corona-infected children in Spain had. However, Jack’s first Covid 19 test was negative. Only a second test, which was done at the urging of the boy’s family doctor, showed positive.
Symptoms as a delayed late consequence of corona infection
The decision was made to move the child to Morgan Stanley’s Children’s Hospital. Here the doctor Steven Kernie received him: “Jack’s heart was no longer working well,” he recalls. He diagnosed vasculitis: an overreaction of the immune system leads to inflammation of the blood vessels throughout the body and a disturbance in the blood flow.
Other children in this hospital also suffered from these symptoms. Not all of them had tested positive for the corona virus. However, later tests showed that all Covid-19 antibodies had formed. Doctors therefore suspect that they have already had corona disease, but the symptoms of Kawasaki syndrome appeared as a delayed late consequence.
Steroids brought healing
Jack stayed in the intensive care unit for almost a week and needed artificial respiration. Several drugs were initially ineffective. Finally, the doctors resorted to steroids that have anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive effects.
After a few days, Jack was so fit again that he wrote his biology teacher from his hospital bed: “I would like to thank you for teaching me so many things and for giving me the understanding I need to understand my body . “
After another week in the hospital, Jack was finally released. For a while, he must continue to take low-dose steroids and blood thinners and have his attacked heart checked regularly.
At least five children died
For several weeks now, reports of severe corona diseases in children and adolescents have been increasing, especially in corona hotspots such as New York, Spain and Italy. In Great Britain, France and Switzerland, adolescents also suffered from the symptoms of Kawasaki syndrome.
There were more than a hundred cases in the New York region. In Europe, the suspect syndrome occurred in around 230 children aged up to 14 years of age by the end of last week, according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
Doctors in Bergamo in northern Italy report that the inflammatory syndrome has occurred significantly more recently: From mid-February to mid-April, there were ten cases compared to 19 cases in the past five years.
At least five children – three in New York and one each in France and the United Kingdom – have died of the syndrome. In at least two other cases, it is believed to be the cause of death.
Genes as a possible cause