One-third of New York children with Kawasaki-like disease had a preexisting condition, study says

Study may help doctors diagnose rare coronavirus-linked inflammatory syndrome in children

More than one-third of the 99 New York children that were observed having the coronavirus-linked Kawasaki-like disease suffered from underlying medical conditions like obesity and chronic lung disease, according to a new study.

The inflammatory condition primarily affects children and has been paralleled to Kawasaki disease, a condition that causes swelling in medium-sized arteries throughout the body.

The descriptive analysis of 95 patients with confirmed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, and four patients with suspected MIS-C, was published on Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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On May 5, the New York State Department of Health required 106 hospitals in the state to report potential MIS-C cases in patients younger than 21 who were admitted since March 1, 2020.

During the pandemic, initial reports indicated that children had mild, if any, symptoms to COVID-19, with far lower rates of hospitalization and fatality than seen in older adults. However, in early May, this hyperinflammatory process in children presented in the U.K., several other European countries and across the U.S.

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In the study, all of the patients had fever or chills upon admission to the hospital and nearly all had tachycardia, a condition that causes an abnormally fast heart rate. Eighty percent had gastrointestinal symptoms, 60 percent had a rash, more than 50 percent had red-eye and 27 percent had mucosal changes.

The study noted that 80 percent of the patients were admitted to an intensive care unit and 10 percent received mechanical ventilation. As of May 15, 21 percent of patients were still hospitalized and two patients, children aged 0 to 12, had died. The median length of hospital stay was six days.

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Researchers found an association between the inflammatory syndrome and cardiac dysfunction. There were also dermatologic, mucocutaneous and gastrointestinal manifestations found in MIS-C patients.

The study also compared racial and ethnic information of the 99 children, predominantly from the New York Metropolitan Region, and reported that 40 percent of patients were black and 36 percent were Hispanic.

“This may be a reflection of the well-documented elevated incidence of SARS CoV-2 infection among black and Hispanic communities,” the study's authors wrote.

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“This landmark study links COVID-19 and MIS-C and will help health care professionals throughout the country diagnose this condition in their patients,” Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Health Commissioner, told the New York Post.

Overall, researchers concluded that the emergence of MIS-C “coincided” with widespread SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

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Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.