No signs of children's inflammatory syndrome seen in local COVID-19 cases: Gan Kim Yong

No signs of children's inflammatory syndrome seen in local COVID-19 cases: Gan Kim Yong

Parents see their kids off outside the gates of St Andrew’s Junior School
Parents see their kids off outside the gates of St Andrew’s Junior School on Tuesday (Jun 2), on the first day of Phase 1 of reopening after Singapore's circuit breaker period. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: None of the COVID-19 patients under the age of 16 in Singapore have shown symptoms suggestive of the inflammatory syndrome reported elsewhere in the world, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Thursday (Jun 4). 

In a written parliamentary reply to Member of Parliament Murali Pillai, Mr Gan said that as of May 28, 61 patients below the age of 16 had tested positive for COVID-19. 

"These patients were either asymptomatic or had only mild symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat and diarrhoea.

"None of these patients had the symptoms suggestive of the multi-system inflammatory syndrome, or required intensive care or high dependency care," he said. 

Mr Murali had asked about the Ministry of Health's assessment of overseas reports regarding children who may be affected by paediatric multi-system inflammatory syndromes linked to COVID-19. He also asked about the steps the ministry is taking in Singapore to deal with this development.

In his reply, Mr Gan noted that since end-April, countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain and the United States of America have been reporting cases of children requiring intensive care due to the syndrome. 

"A possible link with COVID-19 infection was suggested because some of these children had tested positive for COVID-19 infection.

"However, no strong evidence of such a link has been seen so far in Asian countries, such as Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore," said Mr Gan. 

READ: South Korea says kids with suspected COVID-19 syndrome had another disease

"The Ministry of Health notes that this paediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome remains very rare and information is still emerging," said Mr Gan. 

"Nevertheless, MOH is monitoring the situation closely," he said, pointing out that the ministry had issued an advisory to all medical practitioners on May 11 to refer cases that present with clinical features suggestive of this condition to the Children's Emergency at the KK Women's and Children's Hospital and National University Hospital. 

MOH has also advised paediatricians managing COVID-19 cases to be watchful of this condition, Mr Gan added. 

In a scientific brief posted on its website, the World Health Organization said it had received reports from Europe and North America of "clusters of children and adolescents requiring admission to intensive care units" who displayed symptoms of the inflammatory condition similar to those of Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. 

These symptoms include rashes, hypotension and acute gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain. 

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued an alert for the syndrome on May 14 that described further symptoms including bloodshot eyes, fatigue and neck pain. 

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Source: CNA/dv(hs)