Mystery illness possibly linked to COVID-19 sending children to ICU

Coronavirus

(CBS) — A mystery illness is putting otherwise healthy children in the hospital.

More than a dozen children in the New York City area have ended up in intensive care with severe symptoms possibly linked to coronavirus. All this as parents start thinking about camp and school.

14-year-old Jack McMorrow loves music and video games.Two weeks ago, a rash on his hands quickly led to a fever of over 104 degrees. He was rushed to the ICU and tested positive for COVID-19. John McMorrow is his father..

“His heart rate was over 160. Iit was the scariest point in my life, there was nothing anyone could do, they prepared me for the worst,” John said.

Jack finally responded to steroid treatment. Doctors continue to monitor his heart function at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York. Dr. Steven Kernie oversees the ICU there. 

“They’ll have a very fast heart rate. They’ll have a high fever. They’ll look kind of ill. If their blood pressure still stays low or their heart rate still stays very high, they will oftentimes come to the ICU for extra support,” Kernie said. 

Researchers are now investigating COVID cases like Jack’s, and the symptoms of a mysterious illness. It resembles Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation throughout the body..

The New York City Health Department sent out an alert last night, describing  a “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.” Symptoms include persistent fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes, and inflammation of the heart, eyes, mouth and skin.

At Northwell Health on Long Island, Dr. James Schneider says he is seeing many more patients fitting this description than normal

“I have 11 patients who currently fit this category of illness.And if two patients on a regular pediatric ward still, it’s it’s much more prevalent than we would otherwise expect for a typical Kawasaki illness.

The severe inflammation throughout the body is felt to be an overreaction of the immune system to the coronavirus. although severe disease is still relatively uncommon in children, as kids may start heading back to school in the fall, doctors will now be on alert for yet another unexpected symptom of COVID-19.

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