UK COVID-19 Daily: Kawasaki-like syndrome 'is a new condition'

  • Tim Locke, Medscape.com

  • UK Medical News
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These are the latest UK coronavirus stories you need to know.

Kawasaki-Like Syndrome 'Is a New Condition'

An Imperial College London-led study on 58 children in England experiencing a rare Kawasaki-like syndrome related to COVID-19 has concluded it is a new condition.

It has been named Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome Temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) by the researchers writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Dr Julia Kenny, consultant in paediatric infectious diseases and immunology at Evelina London, said in a news release: "Our analysis has shown that this is indeed a new condition. Untreated, there is a risk of severe complications in very unwell children, but with early identification and treatment the outcome is excellent, with the children we are reviewing after discharge completely well."

Commenting via the Science Media Centre, Dr Sanjay Patel, consultant in paediatric infectious diseases, Southampton Children’s Hospital, said: "It is extremely reassuring that most children have recovered. Only one death in this cohort and excellent outcomes in children with severe PIMS-TS who are treated with immunomodulatory therapy (IVIg +- steroids +- monoclonal therapy)."

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said it expects there to have been around 200 UK cases of PIMS. Last month it issued a case definition.

Symptoms may include a rash, abdominal symptoms, and a high temperature.

RCPCH has now produced a guide for concerned parents and carers.

School Testing

Plans to open primary schools to more children in England have been dropped but a study into the prevalence of COVID-19 in teachers and pupils has been announced.

The swab test surveillance study will be voluntary and will involve up to 100 schools. Dr Shamez Ladhani, paediatric infectious diseases consultant, Public Health England, said in a statement: "The results of this study will play an important role in informing wider surveillance planned for educational settings in the autumn term."

Prof Russell Viner, professor of adolescent health at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, commented: "This is a very welcome announcement.  As we bring more children and young people back to school, having a better understanding of transmission between children, and children to adults, and the impact of schools on broader transmission will be key to protecting all parts of society.  The study is voluntary, so engaging parents will be key to obtaining good quality data.  It will also be essential to link data to test-and-trace data from the wider community."

Shops that had previously been closed in England will be able to open from Monday, Business Secretary Alok Sharma confirmed, as long as COVID-secure guidelines are followed. "As soon as we can, we will publish further safer working guidance for restaurants, pubs and bars, as well as hairdressers, barbers, nail bars, and related services," he told the Downing Street briefing. This would be from 4th July "at the earliest".

Mr Sharma was asked about the outcome of the promised review of the current 2 metre rule before shops open next week. "We're going to keep this under review. And only when it is safe will it change," he said.

Latest ONS Data

The Office for National Statistics published its latest COVID-19 data for England and Wales that show 45,748 deaths involving COVID-19 registered between 28th December 2019 and 29th May.

COVID-19 care home deaths in England now total 12,828 with 626 in Wales.

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in the week ending 29th May was 9824, which is 2464 fewer than the previous week, but still 20.2% (1653 deaths) higher than the 5-year average.

Dr Jennifer Dixon, chief executive at the Health Foundation, commented: "The number of weekly deaths are falling - particularly in hospital where they are back to near normal levels. But care homes and the community continue to be the hardest hit, with 819 deaths in residents of care homes and 868 deaths of people in private homes, above the 5-year average."

Daily Deaths and Data

Another 286 UK COVID-19 deaths were announced on Tuesday, taking the total to 40,883.

There were 102,930 tests counted on Monday. This figure includes home tests that have been sent out but not yet processed.

Figures for the number of people tested were last given on Friday 22nd May.

Another 1387 positive cases were reported on Tuesday.

There are 6348 people currently in hospital with coronavirus, down from 7622 this time last week.

Another 446 people were admitted to hospital in the UK (excluding Scotland) with COVID-19 and 513 mechanical ventilator beds are in use across the UK by coronavirus patients.

More News in Brief

  • Doctors' Association UK has issued a joint High Court challenge against the Government for its refusal to launch an urgent inquiry into shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for NHS staff and other frontline care workers. The crowdfunded legal challenge is being brought with, Hourglass – a charity that works to prevent the abuse of older people – and the Good Law Project.

  • Imperial College London is planning to market a low-cost COVID-19 vaccine via a social enterprise as early as next year. Royalties will be waived for the UK and low-income countries. Professor Robin Shattock from Imperial said in a statement: "These new enterprises are the most effective way for us to deliver COVID-19 vaccines quickly, cheaply and internationally, while preparing for future pandemics." The vaccine enters phase I/II human trials next Monday in 300 people.

  • The Welsh Government has updated its face covering advice following new guidance from the World Health Organisation last week. Three-layer face coverings are now recommended in situations where social distancing is not possible. Health Minister Vaughan Gething commented: "The wearing of face coverings will not be mandatory, but we will encourage people to do this for the benefit of themselves and others."

  • NHS England has launched new online support for people with type 1 diabetes. Digibete is for children and MyType1Diabetes for adults. Professor Partha Kar, national specialty advisor on diabetes, said in a statement: "Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes and we are delighted to support these tools which will hopefully empower people to look after their own condition and reduce their risk."

  • The Foreign Office has made a subtle change to its COVID-19 travel advice. It now "currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel" and has dropped references to this being for "an indefinite period".

  • At least one junior doctor has found they can earn more as a contact tracer (£17.35/hr) than their normal work (13.50/hr). One told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire: "I’m paid more to sit at home phoning people to talk from a set script than to wear hot, sweaty PPE for up to 6 hrs at a time looking after COVID patients."

  • Move over footballers and musicians, medical jobs are the new future career choices for today's children, Wales Online reported. A survey of more than 2500 parents of children aged between 4 and 16 for the website NHS Discount Offers found the top three jobs were doctor, nurse, and social media influencer.

Adapted from Medscape UK.