Ontario – Statement on Kawasaki Syndrome, COVID-19, and Children


TORONTO – COVID-19 – Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, issued the following statement about multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, which appears to be similar to Kawasaki Syndrome, in children and COVID-19:

“Recent reports in Canada and internationally indicate that there may be an increase in multisystem inflammatory vasculitis, a rare but serious multisystem inflammatory illness that impacts children who have been diagnosed with COVID-19.

While the link between this inflammatory illness and COVID-19 is not confirmed at this time, we are taking immediate action to better monitor this emerging issue so that we can effectively respond to the illness and protect Ontario’s children.

In consultation with Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, we are updating the case definition of COVID-19 to include multisystem inflammatory vasculitis as an atypical presentation in children. This will support clinicians in making clinical assessments of patients who may have symptoms, including some of the most vulnerable of patients, children.

Some of the symptoms associated with this illness include persistent fever, abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, as well as rash. Parents should contact their health care providers immediately if their children are having these symptoms.

While we are being vigilant to monitor any situation that could be related to COVID-19, recent data in Canada indicates that the majority of COVID-19 infections in children are mild and do not require hospitalization. People under the age of 19 make up five per cent of COVID-19 cases and no Canadian children are known to have died.

We will continue to assess the situation as it evolves, including how to track this illness to ensure we have access to appropriate data and information to care for young patients. As we learn more, we will determine if further actions are needed to support our response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Nothing is more important than the health and wellbeing of all Ontarians, especially our children.”

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