No Cases of Rare Kawasaki Disease Among Covid-19 Patients in India, Says ICMR

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India has not reported any cases of Kawasaki disease among Covid-19 patients, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Tuesday, adding that the disease in itself is less common in India.

Kawasaki disease is an auto-immune disease that results in a fever and mainly affects children under 5 years of age. It is a form of vasculitis, where blood vessels become inflamed throughout the body.

“It is less common in India. I don't think we have had any experience of Kawasaki with Covid-19 in India so far. That's a very rare condition,” said Balram Bhargava, DG, ICMR, in a press briefing.

The symptoms of Kawasaki syndrome are said to be fever for 3-5 days and redness of eyes and lips.

In April this year, researchers in the UK and several European countries with high numbers of Covid-19 cases had recognised a new inflammatory syndrome in children that was similar to Kawasaki disease.

In June, researchers had identified the main symptoms and clinical markers of the new syndrome. The condition, which the researchers named 'Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome Temporally' associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS), was studied in 58 children admitted to eight hospitals in England.

According to the researchers, PIMS-TS appears to be more likely to affect older children than Kawasaki disease does (average nine years old versus four years old, respectively) and presents more often with abdominal pains and diarrhoea alongside the common features such as persistent fever.

Kawasaki disease is known to damage the coronary artery in such a way that as the child grows the artery does not, leading to a reduction in the amount of blood that can reach the heart. Immune therapy is known to help alleviate these problems.