The novel coronavirus which was earlier known to chiefly affect the sick and the elderly, is causing rare and life-threatening syndromes among children. Inflammatory illnesses in children who were possibly exposed to the coronavirus, were first observed in Britain, Spain and Italy. The US witnessed its first such case on May 7, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Friday.

Child in New York dies of rare syndrome, possibly linked to coronavirus

Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday night, a 5-year old boy in New York died of a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to the coronavirus. "There has been at least one fatality because of this and there may be others that are now under investigation," Cuomo said. "This is every parents' nightmare, right, that your child may actually be affected by this virus," Reuters quoted him as saying.

He said New York's health department was looking into 73 such cases of inflammation among children. "While rare, we are seeing some cases where children affected with the COVID virus can become ill with symptoms similar to the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome that literally causes inflammation in their blood vessels."

Andrew Cuomo tweet
Andrew Cuomo tweet

Life-threatening inflammatory illnesses among children

Inflammation syndrome among children
Image for representation purpose Screen Grab/YouTube

Cases of rare, life-threatening inflammatory illnesses among children were first observed in Britain. The syndrome can attack multiple organs, impair heart function and weaken heart arteries. It shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, such as fever, skin rashes, swelling of glands, and in severe cases, inflammation of arteries of the heart.

Scientists are trying to determine whether the syndrome is linked to SARS-CoV-2, as not all children with the syndrome have tested positive for Covid-19. If it is established that the rare syndrome among children is linked to the new virus, it'll break the earlier notion that children are less susceptible to complication linked to the coronavirus.

"This would be really painful news and would open up an entirely different chapter," Cuomo said. "I can't tell you how many people I spoke to who took peace and solace in the fact that children were not getting infected."