• A serious coronavirus-related condition may be emerging among children, UK doctors say.
  • General practitioners in the UK have been sent a “significant alert” telling them to look out for symptoms of the new condition, the Health Service Journal reported on Monday.
  • The alert said the condition had features of “toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki Disease,” with “abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms,” according to the report.
  • The alert also said there had been an increase in children with the condition requiring intensive care in recent weeks, according to the Health Service Journal report.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has so far affected mostly adults and older people, and the total number of cases of this unidentified condition in children is thought to be small, the report said.
  • A representative for UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday said the government was looking into the reports.
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Doctors in the UK have reported a serious condition emerging in children that could be related to the coronavirus, with growing numbers requiring intensive care.

A “significant alert” sent to general practitioners in London said that in the past three weeks “there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multisystem inflammatory state requiring intensive care,” according to a Monday report by the Health Service Journal.

The alert added that “there is a growing concern that a [COVID-19] related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK, or that there may be another, as yet unidentified, infectious pathogen associated with these cases.”

It told doctors to “please refer children presenting with these symptoms as a matter of urgency.”

The UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told a press conference on Monday that he was “very worried” about the reports of the condition, which the National Health Service Medical Director for England, Stephen Powis, said could be similar to the Kawasaki disease.

“We have become aware in the past few days of reports of severe illness in children which might be a Kawasaki-like disease,” Powis said.

“We have asked our experts… to look into this as a matter of urgency.”

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The coronavirus pandemic has so far mostly affected adults, and the total number of cases of this unidentified condition in children is small, the UK’s Chief Medical Adviser Christopher Whitty told the press conference.

However, Whitty described the possibility that there was a link between the condition and the coronavirus as “plausible”.

The Paediatric Intensive Care Society, which issued a separate “urgent alert” about the condition have called for an “early discussion” of all new cases to identify its origin and limit its spread, the report said.

The alerts said the condition had features of “toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki Disease with blood parameters consistent with severe COVID-19 in children,” according to the report. They added that “abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms” and “cardiac inflammation” were common.

The alerts said that “this has been observed in children with confirmed PCR positive SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as children who are PCR negative,” referring to the official name of the coronavirus. It added that “serological evidence of possible preceding SARS-CoV-2 infection has also been observed.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under growing pressure to reopen the nation’s schools following the national lockdown that began in March.