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Child stricken with mysterious illness linked to COVID-19 being treated at Chicago area hospital

“This appears to be a very complex complication of COVID-19,” said Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer at Advocate Children’s Hospital, where the child is undergoing treatment.

A child is now being treated at a Chicago area hospital for a mysterious illness that could be related to COVID-19.
AP file photo

A child is now being treated at a Chicago area hospital for a mysterious illness that could be related to COVID-19.

The syndrome presents symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome, including rash, persistent fever, vomiting, diarrhea, red eyes, swollen lymph nodes and abdominal problems. The Chicago area case was confirmed at Advocate Children’s Hospital, though it’s unclear whether the child is being treated at the Oak Lawn or Park Ridge campus.

“This appears to be a very complex complication of COVID-19,” said Dr. Frank Belmonte, the hospital’s chief medical officer. “We are currently learning new things about this virus every day. This is the first indication that children may be more negatively impacted than we first expected.”

The mysterious sickness was first identified in children in Europe and is now beginning to crop up in the United States, according to a statement from Advocate, which noted that the illness has affected “children as young as two and well into the teens.”

In New York, public health officials have identified 64 children with symptoms consistent with the illness. A bulletin issued Monday warned that diagnostic testing for COVID-19 could come back positive or negative and that cases may require both cardiac and respiratory support.

“Early diagnosis and treatment are essential,” said Belmonte. “If you have questions, you’ll want to call your pediatrician, or in more serious cases, go to a pediatric emergency department.”