Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Rare Inflammatory Disease Linked to More Than 100 Childhood COVID-19 Cases

Health + Wellness
Rare Inflammatory Disease Linked to More Than 100 Childhood COVID-19 Cases
A paramedic carries a 10-month-old boy with a fever to Stamford Hospital on April 04, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut. Photo by John Moore / Getty Images

A new health condition seemingly related to COVID-19 related symptoms has appeared in more than 100 children living in New York and New Jersey, prompting health officials to ramp up awareness campaigns and spur new health protocols in response to the mysterious disease.



At least 102 children in New York and 18 cases in New Jersey have been reportedly connected to the newly named "pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome (PMIS)," reports NBC. At least three children have died in connection with the disease as another two deaths are currently under investigation. More than a dozen states have confirmed similar cases.

PMIS is a new health condition believed to be related to COVID-19, the severe respiratory disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, but experts say that the connection is "still not clear." Like other inflammatory conditions, such as toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease, childhood cases of PMIS are linked to issues with the heart and other organs and can sometimes require hospital support in an intensive care unit.

"So far, from what we understand, this is a rare complication in the pediatric population that [doctors] believe is related to COVID-19," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker told The New York Times.

Although uncommon, PMIS can be life-threatening. Guardians are urged to call a doctor immediately if their child becomes ill and has a continued fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) lasting several days, along with other symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, swollen hands and feet, or a red tongue that "looks like a strawberry." PMIS is not believed to be contagious, but its connection to COVID-19 suggests that a child may be infected with the virus or another underlying infection that may be contagious.

"Until we know more, hospitals in NYC that are treating children with PMIS are taking the same precautions they take for patients with COVID-19," writes the New York City Department of Health.

European pediatricians first reported a rising number of COVID-19 cases connected with a similar inflammatory disease in April, reported IFLScience. At the time, doctors reported that it was unclear whether it was related to the novel coronavirus, and that there "may be another as yet unidentified infectious pathogen associated with these cases." The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that it is studying the disease but at the time does not know how prevalent it is or what its relationship to SARS-CoV-2 may be.

"As more data are emerging, CDC is working with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and other domestic and international partners to better understand and characterize this new syndrome, its prevalence and risk factors for it; and to develop a case definition that will allow us to keep track of it,'' the agency told USA TODAY through a spokesman.

Kawasaki disease is an acute febrile illness that typically infects children under the age of five, according to the CDC. Clinical signs often overlap with toxic shock syndrome to include fever, rash, as well as redness of the mouth and throat.

A new study published Wednesday in The Lancet "provides the strongest evidence yet that the syndrome [Kawasaki disease] is linked to the coronavirus," The New York Times reported. Doctors in Bergamo, Italy "aimed to evaluate incidence and features of patients with Kawasaki-like disease diagnosed during the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic," according to the report. After studying 15 girls and 14 boys age 7 and younger, the doctors concluded: "The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic was associated with high incidence of a severe form of Kawasaki disease. A similar outbreak of Kawasaki-like disease is expected in countries involved in the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic."

NPR reports that most children with PMIS have either tested positive for coronavirus infection or for its antibodies, which suggests a prior infection. There is currently no cure for PMIS but doctors say that cases are being treated with different therapies and drugs that help reduce the body's immune response, prompting the inflammatory syndrome in the first place. Although it remains unclear whether the condition is related directly to COVID-19, experts recommend taking similar precautions as well as practicing proper hand hygiene and social distancing measures.

A net-casting ogre-faced spider. CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics / CC BY-SA 3.0

Just in time for Halloween, scientists at Cornell University have published some frightening research, especially if you're an insect!

The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.

"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."

The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.

They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.

They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.

But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.

"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.

What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.

It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.

To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.

First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.

Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.

University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.

"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."

Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.

Hoy agreed.

"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Financial institutions in New York state will now have to consider the climate-related risks of their planning strategies. Ramy Majouji / WikiMedia Commons

By Brett Wilkins

Regulators in New York state announced Thursday that banks and other financial services companies are expected to plan and prepare for risks posed by the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less

Trending

There are many different CBD oil brands in today's market. But, figuring out which brand is the best and which brand has the strongest oil might feel challenging and confusing. Our simple guide to the strongest CBD oils will point you in the right direction.

Read More Show Less
The left image shows the OSIRIS-REx collector head hovering over the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) after the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism arm moved it into the proper position for capture. The right image shows the collector head secured onto the capture ring in the SRC. NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona / Lockheed Martin

A NASA spacecraft has successfully collected a sample from the Bennu asteroid more than 200 million miles away from Earth. The samples were safely stored and will be preserved for scientists to study after the spacecraft drops them over the Utah desert in 2023, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Read More Show Less
Exxon Mobil Refinery is seen from the top of the Louisiana State Capitol in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on March 5, 2017. WClarke / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 4.0

Exxon Mobil will lay off an estimated 14,000 workers, about 15% of its global workforce, including 1,900 workers in the U.S., the company announced Thursday.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch