New Jersey has ordered an investigation following a recent surge in children getting infected with a deadly mysterious inflammatory disease linked to coronavirus.

There are as many as 18 possible cases of kids diagnosed with the mysterious systematic inflammatory syndrome that is similar to the Kawasaki disease and is linked to COVID-19, the state's top health officials said on Wednesday, May 13.

18 children diagnosed with disease in NJ

The state had initially recorded 11 children who were hospitalized with possible cases of the disease as on Tuesday, May 12, said state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli, before receiving reports of seven additional cases the following day.

The children are all aged between 3 and 18 years and four of them have also tested positive for coronavirus. The cases have been reported in counties across the state, including Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, Union, and Warren.

What is this mysterious illness?

Inflammation syndrome among children
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The disorder, dubbed "Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Potentially Associated with COVID-19," shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, which is associated with fever, skin rashes, swelling of glands, and, in the most severe cases, inflammation of arteries of the heart.

CDC Issues Nationwide Alert

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is issuing a nationwide alert warning doctors to be on the lookout for the dangerous inflammatory syndrome in children, a spokesman told CNN on Tuesday.

During the state's daily coronavirus briefing in Trenton on Wednesday, Persichilli noted that the state is investigating the recent spike in cases of the disease."They are all under investigation," she said. "There will be more reporting on that as the CDC identifies the case definition and we finish our case investigations."

Donna Leusner, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Health, said the agency is working closely with the CDC and neighboring states to investigate the reports.

The inflammatory condition has now been reported across 15 states in the United States, including New York, where 102 cases have been reported and three children have died due to the disease. So far no fatalities have been recorded in New Jersey.