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(LEAD) S. Korea looking into 2 suspected cases of Kawasaki-like illness in children

All News 15:46 May 26, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; ADDS more info throughout, photo)

SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Tuesday reported two suspected cases of an unknown inflammatory syndrome in children possibly linked to the new coronavirus for the first time.

The two cases -- one under the age of 10 and one teenager -- were reported in Seoul for the disease whose symptoms are similar to the rare illness Kawasaki, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

The KCDC said the two children did not test positive for COVID-19.

People wearing masks walk at Seoul Station on May 26, 2020, as the quarantine authorities began to require all bus, taxi and airplane passengers to wear masks the same day amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Yonhap)

"One of the two suspected cases currently do not fit the definition of the disease," KCDC's Deputy Director Kwon Jun-wook told a briefing. "However, we are looking into both reported cases."

The disease, named Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), first emerged in Europe in April. Hundreds of children in a total of 13 countries have since been treated in hospitals, with some cases leading to death.

The symptoms of MIS-C include inflammation of the blood vessels, swollen hands and feet, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, which are similar to those of the Kawasaki disease, a rare illness that occurs in 1 in 10,000 children under the age of 5.

There is no currently no proof that MIS-SC is linked to COVID-19, with the exact cause remaining unidentified, according to the KCDC. The disease remains exceedingly rare.

The KCDC published a case definition for the disease. Children and adolescents under 19 show symptoms of a fever of 38 degrees Celsius or above lasting 24 hours or longer, with inflammation and multisystem (two or more) organ involvement in severe clinical condition requiring hospitalization.

No other pathogenic cause of inflammation should be found, and evidence of COVID-19 infection, or history of COVID-19 exposure within four weeks prior to the onset of illness, should be found, according to the KCDC.

The cases come just a day after the KCDC established a system to detect and analyze MIS-C. Doctors are advised to report to health authorities if they identify patients showing such symptoms.

khj@yna.co.kr
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