May 11, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A growing number of children are developing a rare and mysterious condition linked to the coronavirus in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday.
Across the five boroughs, 38 children as of Monday have developed the condition doctors are calling “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.” Nine cases are pending and one child has died, the mayor said.
Last week, the city had just 15 cases of the syndrome, including an 8-year-old Richmond Hill boy who suffered heart failure and was placed on a ventilator, but has since improved.
“Previously this is something that we didn’t see cases of, then we started to see a few cases, then we saw more cases, now we’ve actually lost a child to this syndrome,” de Blasio said at a press conference Sunday. “And that is deeply deeply troubling.”
The increasing number of cases has alarmed city health experts who had previously believed the deadly virus largely overlooks children.
“There is a rare condition which we’re seeing more of just in the last days and it’s causing tremendous concern,” de Blasio said. “I’m deeply concerned as a father.”
The syndrome is similar to toxic shock syndrome or Kawasaki disease, health experts say. It causes inflammation that can send the body into a state of shock and cause organ failure.
If left untreated the condition can permanently damage a child’s heart.
Symptoms of the syndrome include persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting.
“Every parent out there if you see these symptoms, take them seriously, act immediately,” de Blasio said. “This is a real problem, but it’s a problem that can be addressed if it’s caught early.”
All children with the symptoms will be tested for coronavirus antibodies at the city’s public hospitals, de Blasio said.
Of the 38 cases, 47 percent tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, 81 percent of other children had antibodies for the virus, de Blasio said.