Skip to main content
Skip to main content
for

No evidence of link between COVID-19 and Kawasaki disease, expert says

Kids with COVID-19 getting severe, shock-related illnesses that could be from mutation of virus

Some children in medical centers in Europe and the United States’ East Coast have developed shock-related critical illnesses that appear to be linked to COVID-19. 

Shock is a rare complication of the rare childhood illness Kawasaki disease. While medical centers have diagnosed these children as possibly having Kawasaki disease, Northwestern University Kawasaki disease expert Dr. Anne Rowley said “at present, there is no definitive evidence that COVID-19-induced shock is related to Kawasaki disease.”

“Why children with COVID-19 now appear to be developing more severe illness with shock in rare cases is unknown, but mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been proposed as a possible explanation,” Rowley said. 

Rowley is a professor of pediatrics (infectious diseases) and microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University and an infectious diseases physician at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She is available to speak to media. Those interested in scheduling an interview should contact Kristin Samuelson at ksamuelson@northwestern.edu.  

More quotes from Dr. Rowley:

“Some clinical symptoms of both these disorders – Kawasaki disease and COVID-19 – such as fever, rash and eye redness (conjunctival injection) are present in many childhood illnesses. However, the laboratory testing of these two groups of children seems quite different, and in particular, the children with COVID-19 infection have inflammation of the heart muscle rather than the characteristic swelling of the coronary arteries that is observed with Kawasaki disease.”