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Puzzling New Mystery Illness Has Surfaced Among Children in New York

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NEW YORK, NY- — A puzzling new illness has surfaced among children, and medical experts believe it may be connected to COVID-19.
At least 15 young people between the ages of 2 and 15 in New York City have been hospitalized with the inflammatory disease, which is is similar to Kawasaki syndrome, a rare blood vessel disorder.

“Even though it’s uncommon, compared to the hundreds of thousands of people who have contracted this disease, it’s still causing us concern,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday.

“We are learning that even though children are by and large mildly affected when it comes to COVID-19 that there can be situations that they are more severely affected. And thank God in this situation we haven’t had any children who have died with this Kawasaki or Kawasaki-like illness,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

There are a growing number of cases being reported on Long Island and New Jersey as well.

Dr. Barbot described the Kawasaki-like disease as follows:

“Generally, children present with prolonged high fevers, several days of very high fevers. They can also have very red eyes, very brightly colored lips. One of the hallmarks that we see is what we call a strawberry tongue, which means their tongue is very bright and red,” said Dr. Barbot. “The other symptoms children can have are a rash, they can have swelling of their hands and feet.

“Generally, if the condition is identified early, there is the definitive treatment, and there are typically no long term consequences,” she continued. “However, if the syndrome is not identified early, there can be long term consequences, most commonly related to ongoing heart problems.”

Dr. Barbot said cases have also been identified in the U.K., Philadelphia, and Boston.
Dr. Baer says he’s treated five children with those symptoms at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, though none of them tested positive for COVID-19.

He says adults are exhibiting similar symptoms when their immune systems overreact while fighting off the virus.

Dr. Baer says his patients all recovered with supporting care, including antibiotics and blood pressure medication.

The city’s Department of Health issued a health alert asking doctors to report similar cases.

Hospitals are also working with the state Department of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics to track, report, and determine what’s causing these unusual cases.