SL doctors detect new disease in children who contracted COVID-19
A novel disease has been identified in Sri Lanka, targeting children who were diagnosed with COVID-19.
Dr. Nalin Kitulwatta, Specialist in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Lady Ridgeway Children's Hospital confirmed that this new disease, identified as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), is seen to affect children nearly two, to six weeks following the onset of COVID-19.
He further explained that the disease could affect many organs such as the skin, eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys and liver.
"The problem, however, is that sometimes, we may fall into this condition unknowingly", Dr. Kitulwatta explained.
At present, six children between the ages of eight and fifteen are being treated at the ICU of the Lady Ridgeway Children's Hospital, with the main symptoms of the disease having been identified as fever, severe body aches, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, red eyes and eczema.
"The danger of this disease is that it affects the heart severely, which leads to low levels of blood pressure that may even result in death."
Although this is a novel condition that has not caused any deaths in Sri Lanka thus far, the disease had been initially identified in April 2020, in England, and has taken the lives of children in many countries, including the United States of America.
However, Dr. Kitulwatta noted that despite its novelty, several children in Sri Lanka have been diagnosed with MIS-C, thereby increasing the likelihood of this disease spreading across the country.
Accordingly, Dr. Kitulwatta advised that children should seek immediate medical attention in the event they display any symptoms such as fever or diarrhea, so as to avoid a situation in which the child's life may be in danger.
"All the MIS-C patients we've seen thus far have, at some point, come into contact with the coronavirus infection. There are three ways in which we identify COVID-19, by way of a COVID antigen, a PCR test, or an antibody detection test. The six children I have spoken about had all tested positive for at least one of these identification methods, indicating that they have been infected with the coronavirus. The problem, however, is that we are unable to identify when exactly these children contracted COVID-19, because although some children have displayed the relevant symptoms, in most cases, not even the mothers are aware of their child's condition as most children do not show symptoms for COVID-19.", Dr. Nalin Kitulwatta explained.
The children who are currently being treated in the ICU are patients who have been transferred from the Ragama and Kalubowila Hospitals, and have been identified as residents of the suburbs around Colombo, he noted, adding that a patient from Welimada had been identified as a MIS-C infectee, after which he had been admitted to the Badulla Hospital, and had later recovered and left.
"This shows that it is highly possible for the disease to have spread across the country by now", Dr. Kitulwatta stated, urging that the public be aware at all times.