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19-05-2020 | Rheumatology | News | Article

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COVID-19 linked to outbreak of severe Kawasaki-like disease

Author:
Claire Barnard

medwireNews: Italian researchers report a 30-fold increase in the incidence of severe Kawasaki-like disease with the emergence of COVID-19.

Lorenzo D’Antiga (Hospital Papa Giovanni XXIII, Bergamo) and co-authors say that 10 children were diagnosed with Kawasaki disease at their center between 18 February and 20 April 2020, compared with just 19 in the previous 5-year period, giving incidence rates of 10.0 versus 0.3 per month.

In addition to having a significantly higher disease incidence, the researchers say that patients diagnosed during the COVID-19 pandemic had different clinical and biochemical features to those diagnosed previously. For instance, children from the 2020 cohort were significantly older on average (7.5 vs 3.0 years), and had “respiratory and gastrointestinal involvement, meningeal signs, and signs of cardiovascular involvement.” The 2020 cohort also had significantly lower lymphocyte and platelet counts, and higher ferritin levels, compared with the earlier cohort, and 80% had positive serologic test results for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

Therefore, “[t]he SARS-CoV-2 epidemic was associated with high incidence of a severe form of Kawasaki disease,” which “might present outside the classic Kawasaki disease phenotype,” write D’Antiga and team in The Lancet.

Noting that “[t]his condition might be serious and requires prompt and more aggressive management,” the team says that “[f]uture research on the cause of Kawasaki disease and similar syndromes should focus on immune responses to viral triggers.”

medwireNews is an independent medical news service provided by Springer Healthcare. © 2020 Springer Healthcare part of the Springer Nature Group

19 May 2020: The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all healthcare professionals across the globe. Medicine Matters’ focus, in this difficult time, is the dissemination of the latest data to support you in your research and clinical practice, based on the scientific literature. We will update the information we provide on the site, as the data are published. However, please refer to your own professional and governmental guidelines for the latest guidance in your own country.

Lancet 2020 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31103-X

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