ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS 10) — During Friday’s press briefing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a 5-year-old child downstate, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus, died after experiencing symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease. 

Kawasaki Disease is rare and is not known to be an infectious disorder. Dr. Alan Sanders who works for St. Peter’s Health Partners said it is an inflammatory condition that impacts multiple parts of the body.

“Young children get swollen lymph nodes often times in their neck,” explained Dr. Sanders. “They have redness in their eyes, the inside of their mouth can get inflamed and start to peel and so can their lips, but the real tragic part of Kawasaki’s for kids is usually a cardiac manifestation where the muscle of the heart itself can get inflamed, and the blood vessels that are called coronary arteries that deliver blood to the heart to beat each beat, those arteries can inflame and get small little aneurisms on them.”

Some children diagnosed with COVID-19 downstate are experiencing symptoms similar to those of Kawasaki’s. Hospitals in the Capital Region that are affiliated with St. Peter’s Health Partners have not had any cases like this.

“They are warning us from the state that this is happening to people under the age of 21,” Dr. Sanders stated. “We don’t have an inpatient pediatric service in our hospital at this time, at either St. Peter’s or over at Samaritan. So most children will go to a pediatric emergency room like Albany Medical Center has if we ever had somebody come in like that.”

Doctors said the virus is very puzzling.

“I don’t think that COVID was responsible for Kawasaki Disease in the past,” explained Dr. James Saperstone, Community Care Physician.”I think it is one of many viruses that creates this condition , after the immune system recognizes the virus and it goes through this expression. So in other words, COVID is the first virus that we are now associating with this. In the past, it might have been others.”

Kawasaki’s disease can be treated with anti-inflammatory medications.

When it comes to COVID-19, Dr. Sanders said he has seen a decrease in cases. However, he encourages the community to be mindful of these symptoms in children.

“If kids at home develop high fevers, and aches and pains like they have the flu, that child should be brought to the emergency department by their parents.”