As cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported, another ailment is striking children, and medical specialists are still not sure how they are related.

Cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome have been found in Europe and the United States, with New York reporting around 100 cases and at least three deaths.

Affecting organs and blood vessels, some of the symptoms are similar to the rare Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, according to Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel.

"Inflammatory markers may be elevated, and fever and abdominal symptoms may be prominent. Other reported findings have included rash, myocarditis and other cardiovascular changes, coagulopathies, and acute kidney injury. Additionally, some patients have developed cardiogenic or vasogenic shock and required intensive care," said Bharel in an advisory to health care providers. "Respiratory symptoms may not be a prominent feature."

Oklahoma State Department of Health Regional Director Jill Larcade said no cases have been reported in Cherokee County or the state of Oklahoma.

Shelley Zumwalt, OSDH spokesperson, concurred.

"I am not aware of any cases of Kawasaki disease in our state, but that disease is not reportable to OSDH, so that does not mean that there are no cases of it in the state," said Zumwalt.

According to the Associated Press, about 23 percent of cases have occurred in children under age 5; about 29 percent for ages 5-9; about 28 percent for ages 10-14; and 16 percent for ages 15-19.

Bharel wrote in her advisory that the majority of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome patients tested positive for SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Dr. Juan Salazar, Connecticut Children's Medical Center's physician-in-chief, said the condition appears to present itself two to four weeks after a child has recovered from COVID-19, often without ever being diagnosed with the infection.

Caregivers are encouraged to be aware of the symptoms and to stay in communication with pediatricians or health care providers if they have concerns.

Some states with reported cases of the pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome are making it a priority to have COVID-19 tests available for children.

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