Reports of a new inflammatory syndrome are being looked into as a "matter of urgency" in the U.K. According to The Daily Mail, doctors across the country have been discussing a spike in reports of a strange new set of symptoms that are mostly occurring in children. Chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty believes it's "entirely plausible" that it could be related to coronavirus.
Health officials at a National Health Service board in London alerted general practitioners to the spike of cases in an email on Monday. "There is growing concern that a [COVID-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the U.K. Over the last three weeks, there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the U.K." Symptoms of the condition include stomach pain, cardiac inflammation and gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director for NHS England, spoke of the issue at the daily Downing Street press conference. "We have become aware in the last few days of reports of severe illness in children which might be a Kawasaki-like disease. Both Chris [Whitty] and I are aware of that, and we have asked our experts, I have asked the national clinical director for children and young people to look into this as a matter of urgency."
The issue is somewhat surprising, given that young people and children have generally seen much lower rates of infection of COVID-19 than other age groups. Witty said that while there's no definitive link just yet, it could be related to the pandemic, "at least in some cases."
"Because we know that in adults who of course have much more disease than children do, big problems are caused by an inflammatory process and this looks rather like an inflammatory process, a rather different one," Witty explained. "Therefore, given that we have got a new presentation of this at a time with a new disease, the possibility — it is not a definite, we need to look for other causes as well — but the possibility that there is a link is certainly plausible."
In the weeks since coronavirus spread, both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Prince Charles have each tested positive for COVID-19. Although, both have manage to successfully recover, with Johnson himself back at work on Monday.