Children and Covid-19: Wired

With Covid-19’s emergence in 2019, researchers quickly noticed that the disease was especially lethal for older people and suggested that while children could carry the virus their symptoms were mild. Then reports emerged in Europe and the United States of children entering hospitals with fever, rashes, low blood pressure and disruptions to the immune system – a few weeks after having contracted Covid-19. Researchers label the set of symptoms, reported for a few hundred children, as pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome. The symptoms are similar to those of Kawasaki disease, and the syndrome is rare, affecting only a few hundred children. Writing for Wired, Gregory Barber summarizes the history of Kawasaki disease and describes how reports around the world allow doctors to understand and treat the new syndrome. Researchers do not know the triggers and suspect possible genetic links. If caught early, the children can avoid long-term heart problems and Barber concludes that “the surge of cases may present researchers with a unique opportunity to understand how these kinds of immune ailments work.” – YaleGlobal

Children and Covid-19: Wired

Covid-19 mostly targets older adults, but symptoms identified in children – called pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome – point to another unknown
Gregory Barber
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

WHO graph showing distribution of cases by age between Feb 24 and Apr 13: +15 percent aged 80+; +25 percent, aged  60 to 79; 25 percent, aged 49 to 59;  about 20 percent, aged 20 to 39; less than 5 percent under age 20
Covid-19 targets many: About 25 percent of people infected with Covid-19 in mid-April were under the age of 39; testing availability varies widely within and among nations, and researchers warn there are many unknowns, including long-term consequences (Source: World Health Organization)

Read the article from Wired about a new syndrome linked to Covid-19 that targets those under age 20. 

Gregory Barber is a staff writer at Wired who writes about blockchain, AI, and tech policy. He graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and English literature and now lives in San Francisco.

Covid-19 continues to present new manifestations, including pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome, and the World Health Organization gathers data to learn more:

“It is essential to characterize this syndrome and its risk factors, to understand causality, and describe treatment interventions. It is not yet clear the full spectrum of disease, and whether the geographical distribution in Europe and North America reflects a true pattern, or if the condition has simply not been recognized elsewhere. There is therefore an urgent need for collection of standardized data describing clinical presentations, severity, outcomes, and epidemiology. WHO has developed a preliminary case definition and case report form for multisystem inflammatory disorder in children and adolescents.”

Preliminary case definition of pediatric multisystem inflammatory disorder for children and adolescents as of May 15, 2020 includes fever, rash or signs of inflammation, shock, gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea or vomiting – with no obvious microbial cause. There should be evidence of Covid-19 infection or contact with Covid-19 patients.  

WHO has an established platform for standardized, anonymized clinical data and invites contributors to enter case reports with data and variables. “Using the WHO platform facilitates aggregation, tabulation, and analysis across different settings globally and provides a secure, access-limited, password-protected, electronic database hosted in a secure server at WHO.”

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