An “unprecedented cluster” of eight children were discovered to have a condition that closely resembled Kawasaki disease, a severe inflammatory syndrome.
And in just days, it was very apparent that the cluster was not an isolated case — as the New York State Department of Health began reporting dozens of similar cases of the syndrome.
Currently, officials in California have confirmed that a 6-month-old baby named Zara was likely the very first child in the US to show signs of Kawasaki and test positive for COVID-19 in March.
The child (whose name has been withheld) was actually about to be released from the hospital when she tested positive for the coronavirus March 16.
At the time, Zara had been undergoing treatment for the inflammatory condition at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto when her test results for COVID-19 came back.
According to Mahera, her mother, Zara had been fighting intense rashes, swelling, red eyes, and a very high fever. And when she was first admitted to the hospital, doctors believed she would recover in five days — but that was not what happened.
“Her fever was still there, even though we were giving her Tylenol and the rashes were also getting very big and her hands and legs started kind of swelling,” Mahera told ABC News.
And when she tested positive for the coronavirus in mid-March, doctors were shocked.
“There was an element of surprise and we had to put our heads together with a safe plan to send her home,” a pediatric hospitalist at Lucille Packard, Dr. Veena Jones, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “We had not been expecting this.”
Keep in mind this was during the early days of coronavirus when US doctors were still understanding the perimeters of the condition.
At the time, few children had contracted the virus and none had reportedly tested positive while also battling an inflammatory condition.
“Once they gave us the medicine to treat it, everything was turning out very good,” her mom shared with ABC News, adding “we feel like she’s out of danger.”
Two months later, there seems to be a direct connection between the inflammatory condition and the coronavirus.
Symptoms of Kawaski are debilitating and sometimes, fatal.
“Doctors aren’t positive if they really are linked to coronavirus or if it’s some type of association that it’s having just because of the time, or if its something specific happening to children,” Dr. Alok Patel revealed to ABC News.
But as everyone continues to watch and learn, he informs parents to “not freak out, but just to be on the lookout for any of these symptoms.”
The syndrome usually affects children younger than 5 and inflames the blood vessels, sometimes leading to heart failure.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.