20 children in the Netherlands contract illness thought to be linked to COVID-19

20 children in the Netherlands contract illness thought to be linked to COVID-19

In the Netherlands, 20 children are reported to have contracted the mysterious childhood illness that is thought to be linked to COVID-19. The Dutch association for childhood medicine (NVK) told Dutch news site that they had asked all Dutch paediatricians to report all cases of this illness that they had encountered in a survey.

Half of the patients tested positive for coronavirus

The 20 children who have been treated for this inflammatory condition in the Netherlands are not reported to have had any underlying health conditions. Half of the 20 children tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. The disease seems to be a combination of two conditions: the very rare Kawasaki disease that mostly affects children under the age of five and Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS).

"Only four out of twenty patients were under 5 years old," says NVK chairman Károly Illy and paediatrician at the Rivierenland hospital in Tiel. "Antibodies to the coronavirus have been detected in ten patients."

The WHO is currently investigating if this illness is in fact related to COVID-19 after a few cases were reported in the US and several European countries. Until recently, children have escaped any complications from the coronavirus.

Dr Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert: “I want to emphasise, for all the parents out there, the vast, vast majority of children who get COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and recover completely.”

What are the symptoms?

Kawasaki disease is a rare syndrome which involves the swelling of the heart and blood vessels. Patients can experience swollen glands, dry, chapped lips and rashes that are sometimes severe, along with redness of the eyes, lips, hands and feet. 

Toxic Shock Syndrome is a potentially fatal condition associated with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Group A streptococci. Symptoms are a high fever, flu-like symptoms, a severe rash and in serious cases it can lead to a lack of oxygen due to a malfunction of the lungs, and inflammation of multiple organs.

The children had overlapping symptoms of the two conditions. This illness is still emerging and urgent efforts are being carried out to understand more about how children are being affected by this syndrome and the coronavirus, as well as to investigate the link between the two.

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

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