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Surge of a rare post Covid disease in Children in UK

Many hospitals in the UK observed a cluster of children being admitted into hospitals with unexplained post Covid disease symptoms. Up to 100 children a

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Covid Disease in Children in UK
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Many hospitals in the UK observed a cluster of children being admitted into hospitals with unexplained post Covid disease symptoms. Up to 100 children a week were admitted in Pediatric Intensive Care Units ( PICUs) with this rare disease. 

After conducting various observational studies and tests on these children , the disease was recognized as Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome ( PIMS). 

When this disease symptoms were first detected in children during the first wave of the pandemic , many doctors believed it to be Kawasaki Disease, a condition most common in infants and young children that causes inflammation in the walls of blood vessels in the body. But after many clinical tests, the confusion was solved and the doctors announced it to be none other than PIMS. 

PIMS is a non contagious, post infectious syndrome which includes symptoms like fever of above 40C that lasts more than 5 days, severe abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea, skin rashes ,difficulty in breathing,  confusion, irritability or lethargy. The average age of children getting PIMS is 11. But it can range from 8 to 14. Around 67% of the children admitted to hospitals with PIMS were boys and only 22% had Covid when their PIMS emerged while others already had it. Almost ¼ ,  who end up in intensive care ,develop a heart condition called coronary artery dilation which is potentially fatal. 

Two children are reported to have died of PIMS since the beginning of the pandemic. Specialists have discovered that the number of PIMS cases have increased during the second wave compared to the first wave. While there were only about 30 children admitted with the disease in the initial stage of the pandemic, now the count has risen to above 100 children per a week. Cases are reported from many places around the UK but majority have been from London and South East England where the new Kent Covid variant had a sharp rise in infections. 

Most children diagnosed with PIMS have been admitted to one of the NHS’s hospital networks with a PICU such as Evelina and Great Ormond Street Children’s hospital in London. 

Adding to this, another factor that has been raising concerns among the pediatricians is that 75% of the children affected by PIMS belong to Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority (BAME). According to the evidence collected by Dr. Hermione Lyall, the clinical director for children’s services at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, from 78 patients that were put in intensive care with PIMS, 47% were of African Caribbean origin and 28% of Asian origin. 

While researches are carried out to find the exact cause for this specific population to be affected in a greater number, the doctors guess that it may be because of genetics and also how the disease affects those who cannot avoid exposure due to their occupation or crowded households. 

Dr Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race And Health Observatory,  called out for an inquiry to research about the BAME children’s greater risk of contracting this disease than the rest of the population. He added “ We are concerned at these early findings and know structural health inequalities can affect individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds across their lifespans”.

The doctors have assured that there is no need to be panicked over the disease or the surge in hospitalizations because now there is earlier recognition and earlier treatment compared to the first wave. 

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