Will Kawaski Disease further extend school closures?

With reports of there being a link between Kawasaki disease and Coronavirus, many of our teachers are asking whether this link could cause a delay in the reopening of schools.

There have now been several cases of Kawasaki disease seen in children in the UK and other European countries that have been worse hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Some of these children have also been tested positive for Coronavirus, leading to speculation that there could be a link between the two that could further complicate the question of when schools will reopen.

What is Kawasaki Disease?

Kawasaki disease is a condition that mainly affects children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years.

One of the symptoms of the Kawasaki disease is a prolonged fever, which can lead to it being misdiagnosed as Coronavirus. Other symptoms include a rash, swollen glands in the neck, cracked lips, red eyes and red fingers/toes.

The disease is typically very rare in children  Despite paediatricians researching the disease for more than 50 years, the cause is not yet known.

Is there a link between Kawasaki Disease and Coronavirus?

Of the reported cases across Europe, some but not all of the children tested positive for Coronavirus. There is no clear consensus as to the cause of the disease but it is thought that viruses can be a trigger. During the last SARs outbreak in 2003 a similar link to Kawasaki disease was reported but this has since been disproved.

England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty has confirmed that in some cases he considers it ”entirely plausible” that the disease is caused by Coronavirus.

However, no infection has ever been proven to be the sole cause of the disease.

So will Kawasaki Disease further complicate the issue of when will school reopen?

This appears highly unlikely. There has been a small spike in cases of Kawasaki disease during the pandemic but this very rare disease that is typically more common this time of year at any rate.

As yet there is no clear link between the two. Young children tend to have little or no symptoms from Coronavirus so it is unlikely that contracting the virus will then contribute to triggering the Kawasaki disease.

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