Montreal doctors investigate possible link between COVID-19 and rare children's disease

Kawasaki kid

A team of Montreal doctors is investigating a recent cluster of cases of what appears to be Kawasaki disease, a rare illness that affects children, to determine if the syndrome was brought on by COVID-19.

Since mid-April Sainte-Justine Hospital has seen 15 cases of the mysterious illness. The hospital would normally see one or two cases per month.

"We've been seeing this the last few weeks, it struck us as unusual to have so many at the same time," Fatima Kakkar, a doctor at Sainte-Justine told CTV News.

While the average age of children with Kawasaki disease is two-years-old, the children treated over the past couple of weeks in Montreal have ranged from infants to teenagers.

All of the children have recovered and all tested negative for COVID-19. Doctors are now waiting for a reliable antibody test to determine if any of the kids were previously infected by the virus.

Experts caution it is far too early to draw a connection between COVID-19 and Kawasaki disease.

"I think it's really important that we remember that these are early days that these are preliminary findings, and that we have a great deal more to learn," Dr. Charlotte Moore Hepburn of the Canadian Paediatric Society told CTV News.

Common symptoms of the syndrome that has affected children in Canada, the United States and Europe include rashes, fever, bloodshot eyes and swelling in the hands and feet.

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