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A child sits in a primary school classroom inside a gym in Borgosesia, Italy. Photo: Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images

A hospital in the epicenter of Italy's coronavirus outbreak has seen a 30-fold increase of children with severe inflammatory symptoms most often associated with Kawasaki-like disease, according to a study published Wednesday in the medical journal The Lancet.

Why it matters: This is one of the first completed studies to examine the rise of an inflammatory illness that is affecting children — some of whom have tested positive for the coronavirus or its antibodies.

What they found: 7 boys and 3 girls, all aged 5 to 7 years old, were diagnosed with Kawasaki from February 18 to April 20. They were admitted to the hospital, on average, after six days of prolonged fever.

  • In the last five years, that hospital treated a total of 19 patients for those symptoms, the study finds.
  • Eight of the children who were admitted to the hospital since February tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

Symptoms for patients up to 21 years old, experiencing what doctors are calling "pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome," include:

    • Persistent fever and inflammation
    • Abnormal, sudden or rapid heart rhythm
    • Rash
    • Diarrhea and vomiting
    • Weak pulse and rapid breathing
    • Dizziness or loss of consciousness

The big picture: There have been at least 50 cases of the inflammatory symptoms throughout Europe, the New York Times reports, including in Switzerland, France, Britain and Spain. New York has reported 102 cases and three deaths as of Wednesday.

The bottom line: Doctors behind the study expect a "similar outbreak of Kawasaki-like disease" in countries experiencing coronavirus outbreaks.

Go deeper: Doctors face new urgency to solve children and coronavirus puzzle

Go deeper

Updated Oct 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Pfizer booster has 95.6% efficacy, large study shows — FDA authorizes mix-and-match for booster shots — J&J expects $2.5 billion of vaccine sales this year.
  2. Health: Cases and deaths keep falling — White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11 — The global coronavirus vaccine gap — Gates Foundation to send $120 million of antiviral pills to lower-income countries.
  3. Politics: Reports: Brazil leader to be accused of crimes against humanity over COVID — Puerto Rico leads U.S. vaccination rates — Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Aug 21, 2020 - Health

Trump administration blocks FDA from regulating lab-developed tests

Photo: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services this week blocked the Food and Drug Administration's ability to regulate lab-developed tests, including for the coronavirus, that have been produced by hundreds of hospitals.

What they're saying: The change prohibits the FDA from overseeing such tests before they're marketed without a detailed rule-making process. HHS said it is taking the action as part of broader Trump administration review of "duplicative actions and unnecessary policies."

Biden says he would issue nationwide stay-at-home order in face of COVID-flu nightmare

Joe Biden accepts the Democratic Party nomination on Aug. 20. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden told ABC News on Friday that, if elected, he would issue a nationwide stay-at-home order at the recommendation of scientists if coronavirus infections surged in January alongside the flu season.

Why it matters: The country's coronavirus crisis could worsen this winter if hospitals are overwhelmed with patients requiring care from COVID-19 at the same time as the flu. The severity of the influenza season also depends on how many Americans get flu shots.