A number of children in India, infected with COVID-19, are now coming up with symptoms equivalent to those of Kawasaki disease. Hospitals in Mumbai and Delhi have been flooding with similar cases.
Dr Arvind Kumar, Director and HOD, Paediatrics, Fortis Shalimar Bagh, recently interacted with indianexpress.com to explain about the disease in-depth.
“Kawasaki disease is not new. Children with Kawasaki have been treated earlier also. In my experience, on average, there are about two to three children diagnosed with the disease in six months. Now they are coming in clusters, which most probably happened because a large part of the population is now suffering from COVID-19,” added Dr Kumar.
What is Kawasaki disease?
Kawasaki disease’s origin remains known. It was first discovered in Japan by Tomisaku Kawasaki, a paediatrician. This disease can possibly occur to infants as well as children up aged between 10-15 years.
How is Kawasaki similar to COVID-19?
Some children getting tested COVID-19 positive, are now showing signs of Kawasaki and multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS). Dr Kumar remarked, “These children have high fever that is not remitting, redness of eyes, irritability, vomitting, and swelling in the limbs. But these symptoms are not a typical manifestation of Kawasaki but atypical Kawasaki, which means, they do not meet the criteria that have been laid down for diagnosis. So we can say COVID-19 infection in certain children is causing a hyper-inflammatory response, which is presenting as a manifestation of Kawasaki.”
Patients showing symptoms of Kawasaki usually have high fever, wet eyes, red lips and the surface of their tongue would turn red and uneven, Dr Kumar stated. These symptoms would get extremely annoying for children. Some also witness joint pain and swelling in the limbs.
Treatment of Kawasaki?
Kawasaki is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. Majority of children reacts with a single dose of IVIG, after which the fever disappears and they are clinically much better, Dr Kumar explained.