57 children among Jamaica's 505 COVID-19 cases


57 children among Jamaica's 505 COVID-19 cases

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

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FIFTY-SEVEN of Jamaica's 505 confirmed COVID-19 cases are children, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Dr Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie has confirmed.

She made the revelation at last evening's virtual press briefing at Jamaica House in St Andrew.

The CMO said of the 57 children, 38 are linked to the Alorica workplace cluster in St Catherine.

“The majority of these children were asymptomatic. We had 13 children that were admitted to hospital, and of those 13 we had seven that were symptomatic, and these were with mild symptoms, except for one case — the unfortunate case we had of a child who actually passed. The other children are mildly symptomatic children,” Bisasor-McKenzie told journalists.

The CMO said of the 13 who were admitted to hospital, eight have since been discharged. Of the remaining four, one is symptomatic.

She said that there are currently 17 at a national isolation facility and five at another.

“So yes, we have been seeing children that have been affected and I think Jamaica's progression in the outbreak reflects what is happening in other countries, in that, initially, we were not seeing children that were affected but as time has gone by, and especially in doing our case investigation — which many of it would be sampling of asymptomatic contacts — that we would have been picking up children in this.

“Fortunately, we have not yet had the experience that is now being revealed through the case studies that are happening out of the UK [United Kingdom] and the US [United States], where [they] are having inflammatory disease in children that are affecting the blood vessels and causing some serious outcomes,” the physician noted.

International media reports have indicated that scores of children have been hospitalised with a rare inflammatory disease with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome.

It is believed to be caused by the new coronavirus.

The Agence France-Presse has described the Kawasaki disease as a mysterious illness that primarily affects children up to the age of five and causes the walls of arteries to become inflamed, resulting in fever, skin peeling and joint pain.

It said that a rash and swollen glands can also be signs, and, if untreated, patients can suffer health failure, but those who are given medical care respond well.

The agency said Britain's National Health Service first sounded the alarm last month, warning about a small rise in children infected with the new coronavirus that have “overlapping features of toxic shock syndrome and atypical Kawasaki disease”.

France, Italy and Spain have also reported several cases.

“We have not yet seen that. We continue to monitor closely our children that are in hospital and to do our surveillance, including the severe acute respiratory surveillance among our children,” the CMO said.

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