There are more than 4 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the globe, including more than 285,000 deaths, according to the World Health Organization on Friday.
Children have been spared for the most part, but a rise in cases of a mysterious inflammatory syndrome that doctors think is related to the coronavirus has prompted WHO to issue new clinical case definition guidelines and a reporting system to track the cases.
The syndrome has been reported in Europe and North America in recent weeks, as children were admitted to intensive care units with the disorder and battled multisystem organ failure. The symptoms included fever with other manifestations including skin rash, heart irregularities and hypotensive shock.
Medical professionals say the inflammatory disorder is similar to toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation in the blood vessels.
“It is essential to characterize this syndrome and its risk factors, to understand causality, and describe treatment interventions,” said WHO. “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.”
To that end, WHO is asking health care workers across the globe to watch for patients 19 and younger who present with a fever of three days or more, in combination with other criteria including confirmed or likely COVID exposure.
To review the preliminary guidelines and WHO statement, check this link.