Coronavirus in kids: CDC to alert doctors to symptoms of rare syndrome possibly linked to COVID-19

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The CDC is working on a new warning for doctors across the country about an inflammatory disease many experts believe is linked to COVID-19. The disease is affecting children across the country and here in the Chicago area.

Dr. Frank Belmonte, the chief medical officer at Advocate Children's Hospital, said three children have been treated there, including two who were in intensive care. Fortunately, all of them are doing fine.

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"We started seeing cases here in Chicago over the last two weeks," Dr. Belmonte said, adding that the illness is extremely rare. "I don't want parents to worry this is a common thing."

But the severity of the illness is concerning. More than 100 children in at least a dozen states, including Illinois, have presented with a rare syndrome believed to be related to COVID-19.

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"Many of these kids are testing negative for the live virus with the nasal swab," Dr. Belmonte said. "But they have circulating antibodies in their blood. So we know that it's been at least 14 days or more from the exposure time to the time they are presenting with these other symptoms."

Symptoms are similar to what's known as Kawasaki disease and include a high fever, skin rashes, eye inflammation and swollen lymph nodes.

"Children presenting with COVID19 who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome very similar to Kawasaki syndrome," Dr. Anthony Fauci. "I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune."

Twelve-year-old Juliet Daly has a rare heart condition her doctor believes was caused by inflammation. Juliet recovered. And 8-year-old Jayden Hardowar spent two weeks in the hospital, but is now on the slow road to recovery.

The CDC warning for doctors across the country will provide a more comprehensive definition of what cases look like and ask physicians to report possible cases to health departments.
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