Children falling critically ill with new ‘coronavirus-related syndrome’ as NHS issues alert

  • What is a multi-system inflammatory state?

  • Is it related to Covid-19?

  • Are there other non-COVID 19 like symptoms ?

  • What is Kawasaki disease?

UPSC Can list these Questions under

GS paper 2 ( Issues related to health, education and Human resources)

What is the context about?

  • Children are falling ill with a mystery ‘inflammatory syndrome’ thought to be linked to coronavirus, senior doctors have warned.
  • Doctors have picked up a slight rise in the number of children of all ages needing intensive care treatment for a condition called “multi-system inflammatory state”.
  • The rise has happened over the past three weeks in London and elsewhere in the UK.

What is a multi-system inflammatory state?

  • It’s a severe immune response that can affect the body in multiple ways, most importantly by making the blood vessels leaky, a condition called Kawasaki disease.
  • This leads to low blood pressure and a build-up of fluid in the lungs and organs.
  • It is extremely serious. Patients need urgent intensive care to support the heart, lungs and sometimes other organs such as the kidneys.

Is it related to Covid-19?

  • That is the concern, but doctors don’t know. Hospitals have seen it in children who have tested positive and negative for the coronavirus, but test results are not 100% reliable.
  • It may be a rare coronavirus-related inflammatory syndrome that has taken time to come to light, or it may be caused by another pathogen entirely.
  • The NHS said it was important for clinicians to be aware of any emerging links so they can give children the right care quickly.

Are there other non-COVID 19 like symptoms ?

The children have overlapping symptoms of toxic shock syndrome (another extreme immune reaction) and unusual Kawasaki disease.

Other symptoms include abdominal pain, gastrointestinal problems and heart inflammation.


  • There is no evidence that the condition is caused by any change in the virus, as that would have shown up in adults first.
  • But it may be a post-infection inflammatory response triggered by the coronavirus. This has been seen in adults, who tend to be more ill in the second phase of the infection, when the initial lung disease gives way to inflammatory damage.

What is Kawasaki disease?

  • Kawasaki disease is an acute inflammatory disease of the blood vessels and usually occurs in children below the age of five.
  • The inflammation caused by the disease affects many parts of the body but has a more serious effect on the heart since it causes inflammation in the coronary arteries that are responsible for supplying blood to the heart.
  • This results in enlargement or in the formation of aneurysms that can lead to heart attacks. Symptoms include fever, changes in extremities, rashes, redness of the cornea, red and cracked lips, a red tongue and lymph node enlargement of the neck.