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Mysterious coronavirus-linked illness afflicting children in the US

LOS ANGELES — Three pediatric patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies were showing symptoms of a rare autoimmune response doctors are calling Pediatric Inflammatory Multi-System Syndrome or PIMS which is similar to the autoimmune condition known as Kawasaki Disease.

“You could get a rash. Your mucous membranes are affected so that means you have red lips, your eyes could be red and there’s also lymph nodes that could be enlarged,” said, Northridge-based Pediatrician, Dr. Rishma Chand.

She hasn’t treated any COVID-19 patients with PIMS but tells parents to keep an eye out for potential symptoms.

“If your child might have decreased energy they might have blue lips or blue skin and obviously those are symptoms where you want to call 911 and bring your child into the emergency room as soon as possible,” said Dr. Chand.

CHLA issued a statement saying, “This April, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has seen an increase in cases of typical and atypical Kawasaki Disease. (a rare condition affecting children) as compared to the previous two years.”

Nationwide, more than 80 children have been diagnosed with the disease in at least seven states, but it’s still unclear what causes the auto-immune condition. Doctors also say parents shouldn’t panic because only two percent of COVID-19 cases involve kids in the first place.

“Of those two percent not all of them have Kawasaki Disease. Kawasaki Disease is a very rare complication,” said Dr. Chand.

Doctors at Children’s Hospital plan to go back and test children who exhibited Kawasaki Disease at the beginning of the pandemic to see if they also have COVID-19 antibodies.

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