NYC reports more than 50 children suffering from mysterious illness

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This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

New York City now has more than 50 cases of “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome,” a mysterious illness affecting children that’s believed to be related to COVID-19CBS New York reports.

New York’s governor said Tuesday the state is investigating about 100 cases of the inflammatory illness statewide, with the ages of cases ranging from infancy to 21.

New York City alone has 52 cases, including one of three deaths reported in the state, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Ten other cases are pending. 

Coronavirus: The Race To Respond 

“It’s sobering. It’s bluntly frightening, and I want to say to parents out there: If you’re hearing this information about pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome and it sounds scary, it does sound scary. I’m speaking as a parent myself,” de Blasio said. “It’s something we did not see essentially throughout March and April. It was not something that the health care community saw on their radar. Then in the last week or two, suddenly, we’re seeing something that’s very troubling.”

Of the 62 confirmed or possible cases, 25 tested positive for the coronavirus and 22 had COVID-19 antibodies.

“Often times when they get the results back from COVID-19, the results may actually be negative,” New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said Monday. “We are encouraging pediatricians to also do antibody testing for these children, more so to confirm the diagnosis, not as an indication of whether or not it’s going to then impact the case moving forward.”

Experts say thee illness bears some resemblance to a rare condition called Kawasaki disease. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state’s Department of Health will work with the CDC and the New York Genome Center to study the illness.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio said early detection makes all the difference, and parents should be on the lookout for persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting.

“If your child is off, if your child doesn’t have energy, if your child is not themselves and has at least one of these symptoms, call immediately to your doctor, your health care provider,” he said. “If you see multiple symptoms, even more urgent.”

Officials say care should be sought immediately if a child has: 

  • Prolonged fever (more than 5 days). 
  • Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids.
  • Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Change in skin color – becoming pale, patchy, and/or blue 
  • Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly. 
  • Racing heart or chest pain.
  • Decreased amount or frequency of urine
  • Lethargy, irritability or confusion.

Doctors say kids over the age of 2 should wear masks whenever they go outside, practice social distancing and stay indoors as much as possible.

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