A KAWASAKI-like disease triggered by coronavirus which has been plaguing children could be fatal in adults, doctors have warned.
Months after the mysterious skin condition emerged in kids, health officials have said adults are also experiencing similar symptoms.
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It’s been named “multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults” or (MIS-A), according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As has been noted in children, the severe illness targets multiple organs and causes increased inflammation in the body, the report said.
In the UK, two children have died from the condition, which doctors dubbed multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) or paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS).
Symptoms can include a fever for more than five days, a rash, swollen glands in the neck, dry cracked lips, red fingers or toes, red eyes and diarrhoea.
The new report, published in the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers say that they have identified 27 cases of MIS-A.
The adults are between the ages of 21 and 50 are all in the US – aside from one case reported in the UK, they said.
In most cases, patients either test positive for SARS-CoV-2 – the virus that cases Covid-19, or have antibodies against it – indication a recent infection.
Dr Sapna Bamrah Morris, who led the research, said: “These 27 patients had cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, dermatologic, and neurologic symptoms without severe respiratory illness and concurrently received positive test results for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.
“Reports of these patients highlight the recognition of an illness referred to here as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in adults (MIS-A), the heterogeneity of clinical signs and symptoms, and the role for antibody testing in identifying similar cases among adults.”
Ten patients required treatment in the intensive care unit, and two patients died, the report said.
The authors note that patients who end up in hospital with Covid-19 can experience inflammation and effects on organs beyond the lungs.
However, in most cases, those effects are accompanied by serious respiratory problems.
The difference with MIS-A patients is that they haven’t shown serious respiratory symptoms.
Of the 16 patients, half did not have any respiratory symptoms, and half had only mild ones.
The experts have urged doctors to consider a diagnosis of MIS-A in adults with compatible signs and symptoms.
“Ultimately, the recognition of MIS-A reinforces the need for prevention efforts to limit spread of SARS-CoV-2,” the authors concluded.
What is paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS)?
PMIS is a new systemic inflammatory response to coronavirus that doctors believe can develop up to three weeks after Covid-19. The rare condition is similar to Kawasaki disease, toxic shock syndrome and sepsis.
What are the symptoms?
In children and teenagers, a persistent fever, over 38.5C, which has gone on for more than three days.
Most children will also suffer respiratory problems and low blood pressure.
Other possible signs include rashes, conjunctivitis, swollen hands and feet, stomach ache, diarrhoea, vomiting, enlarged lymph nodes, fainting and confusion.
What are the risks?
PMIS appears to be relatively rare, experts believe. There have been between 75 and 100 cases in the UK. There have been five deaths worldwide, including a 14-year-old boy from London.
Most children affected are between the age of five and 16. None had any underlying conditions.
Is it linked to coronavirus?
Experts are carrying out research to try to understand more but they are confident PMIS could be related to Covid-19.
Dr Liz Whittaker, a paediatrician who has treated some of the cases in London, said that most of the children had tested negative for Covid-19 at the time they arrived at hospital.
But all of them had positive antibodies to the virus, which suggests they were infected at some point in the previous few weeks.
In July, a UK study across children’s intensive care units looked at data from 78 children, 15 of which were admitted to intensive care wards after experiencing symptoms of a rare inflammatory illness.
Research published by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health found that while the majority of children were discharged from hospital within a week, two children sadly died of the condition.
Reports of children suffering from the condition were seen in several states in the US, the UK and Europe.
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Doctors have stressed that the condition is extremely rare and in most cases, children experience a much milder form of the disease.
Experts at King’s College London say that kids experience different symptoms to adults and that the majority will suffer from fatigue and a loss of appetite if they have contracted the virus.
Meanwhile, scientists in Milan found only one per cent of kids tested positive without any symptoms or signs, compared to nine per cent of adults.