This letter about inflammation in children is real but only refers to a handful of cases
30 April 2020
What was claimed
The NHS has issued a letter saying that some children infected with coronavirus have been exhibiting symptoms similar to toxic shock syndrome.
This is a real letter issued to NHS primary care medical professionals. This letter was intended for medical professionals and refers to only a small number of cases.
We’ve had a number of people ask us whether a lettercirculating on social media warning of an apparent rise in cases of children presenting with symptoms including cardiac inflammation is genuinely from the NHS.
Because the SARS-CoV 2 (the coronavirus that causes Covid-19) has been found in some of these children, the letter says “there is a growing concern that a SARS-CoV-2 related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK.”
The letter is genuine, and was intended for medical professionals working in primary care. NHS North Central London CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group), whose logo is on the letter, confirmed that it was real.
In response to the reaction to the letter, medical experts have generally stated that these symptoms seem to be incredibly rare, and, as SARS-CoV-2 is new, we don’t yet know all the ways it can present.
In a statement, PICS reiterated this, adding that while many of these children had tested positive for Covid-19, some had not.
The letter also says the cases in question had some overlapping features with atypical Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. The cause of Kawasaki disease is not entirely understood, but its effects include swelling of the blood vessels of the heart. Toxic shock syndrome is a severe bacterial infection. Both require hospitalisation.
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For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as true
because this is a real letter, but only refers to a small number of cases.
You’ve probably seen a surge in misleading and unsubstantiated medical advice since the Covid-19 outbreak. If followed, it can put lives at serious risk. We need your help to protect us all from false and harmful information.
We’ve seen people claiming to be health professionals, family members, and even the government – offering dangerous tips like drinking warm water or gargling to prevent infection. Neither of these will work.
The longer claims like these go unchecked, the more they are repeated and believed. It can put people’s health at serious risk, when our services are already under pressure.
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