One-third of New York kids with Kawasaki-like disease had pre-existing condition, study finds

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According to a new study, more than a third of the 99 New York children who were observed with the coronavirus-related Kawasaki-like disease had underlying medical conditions such as obesity and chronic lung disease.

The inflammatory condition primarily affects children and has paralleled Kawasaki disease, a condition that causes swelling in medium-sized arteries throughout the body.

The descriptive analysis of 95 patients with confirmed multiple-symptom inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, and four patients with suspected MIS-C, was published Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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On May 5, the New York State Department of Health required 106 hospitals in the state to report possible cases of MIS-C in patients under the age of 21 who were admitted since March 1, 2020.

During the pandemic, initial reports indicated that children had mild symptoms, if any, of COVID-19, with much lower rates of hospitalization and mortality than those seen in older adults. However, in early May, this hyperinflammatory process in children occurred in the UK, several other European countries, and across the U.S.

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In the study, all patients had fever or chills upon admission to the hospital, and almost all had tachycardia, a condition that causes an abnormally fast heart rhythm. Eighty percent had gastrointestinal symptoms, 60 percent had a skin rash, more than 50 percent had red eyes, and 27 percent had mucosal changes.

The study noted that 80 percent of patients were admitted to an intensive care unit and 10 percent received mechanical ventilation. As of May 15, 21 percent of patients were still hospitalized and two patients, children ages 0-12, had died. The median hospital stay was six days.

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The researchers found an association between inflammatory syndrome and cardiac dysfunction. There were also dermatological, mucocutaneous, and gastrointestinal manifestations found in patients with MIS-C.

The study also compared racial and ethnic information from the 99 children, predominantly from the New York Metropolitan Region, and reported that 40 percent of the patients were black and 36 percent were Hispanic.

"This may be a reflection of the well-documented high incidence of SARS CoV-2 infection among black and Hispanic communities," the study authors wrote.

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"This landmark study links COVID-19 and MIS-C and will help healthcare professionals across the country diagnose this condition in their patients," said Dr. Howard Zucker, New York State Health Commissioner, at New York Post.

Overall, the researchers concluded that the appearance of MIS-C "coincided" with the widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

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Fox News' Madeline Farber contributed to this report.

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