Up to 100 children a week have been hospitalised with the Covid-related syndrome Credit: PA Media

Up to 100 children are being hospitalised every week due to a disease that occurs about a month post-Covid-19 infection. Paediatricians are especially concerned because 75% of those infected are black, Asian or ethnic minority children (BAME).

The disease is called paediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome (PIMS) and it emerged during the first wave of the pandemic. Back then it caused panic for parents and concern for doctors. It was initially thought to be Kawasaki disease, a rare vascular condition that is the main cause of acquired heart disease in children under 18 years old in the UK.

PIMS has been recognised as a separate post-viral syndrome. It arises in one of 5,000 children about a month after having Covid-19, regardless of whether or not they showed any symptoms.

Symptoms involve rashes, a temperature of up to 40C, dangerous low blood pressure and abdominal problems. The most concerning aspect is that in serious cases, the symptoms are like those of toxic shock or sepsis. Two children are thought to have died of PIMS since the pandemic began.

Specialists do not believe that the disease has increased in frequency. However, up to 100 children a week have been hospitalised during the second wave, The Guardian reported. This compares to 30 admissions a week last April.

Dr Hermione Lyall, an expert in infectious diseases, has collected evidence that shows how disproportionate the impact of PIMS is on children of BAME origin, according to The Guardian. Her presentation, in a webinar attended by over 1,000 paediatricians, stated that, out of 78 patients with PIMS admitted to intensive care, 47% were of Afro-Caribbean origin and 28% of Asian background.

It appears that separate data collected by Dr Marie White of the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London showed that 60% of the 107 cases of PIMS treated up until 13 January were black African or Caribbean children.

Most children with PIMS have been taken to one of the UK’s 23 hospitals with a paediatric intensive care unit (PICU), such as the Evelina and Great Ormond Street children’s hospitals in London.

Dr Liz Whittaker, the PIMS spokesperson for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said parents should not be alarmed by the news, as the effect of PIMS is proportionate to the pandemic’s impact on adults.