With the recent findings of a new disease linked to COVID-19 found in children namely, the Paediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (PIMS), Dr. Hazel Laws, Chief Medical Officer warned that all necessary measures must be considered before children return to educational institutions.
“Protocols to prevent infection transmissions must be carefully considered before reopening our schools,” said CMO Laws. “And as health care providers, we have a responsibility to monitor closely the presentations and outcomes of children in our Federation and the wider Caribbean region. In other words, are our children impacted by PIMS? It is our responsibility to maintain and ensure the health of our children.”
During the May 18 edition of the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing, Dr. Laws underscored the importance of physical and social distancing, as well as other preventative measures.
“These measures are important for everyone, for all age groups even children. So it is important for children to practice physical and social distancing as much as is possible, but they can catch on easily in terms of washing their hands and keeping their hands clean especially after playing outside and with their toys etc.”
She noted that it is important to remain vigilant as not all children present symptoms.
“PIMS is primarily a mild disease so in other words children who develop or are diagnosed with the COVID-19 they only experience a mild form of the disease and they rarely require hospitalization,” said Dr. Laws. “Children tend to be symptom-free and they are usually identified through contact tracing. Of our 15 cases locally, two were children and we picked them up mainly through contact tracing. They hardly had any symptoms, if at all. Children with a less serious disease and those without symptoms may be responsible for disease transmission. So, in other words, they may be without symptoms or symptom-free or mild disease but they have the potential of passing on the virus to other individuals,” she added.
The syndrome is characterized by several symptoms including prolonged fever; redness of the eyes or conjunctivitis; a typical rash; swelling of the hands and feet; headache; cracked and swollen lips and a strawberry-like look of the tongue; vomiting; diarrhoea; abdominal pain, swollen lymph nodes in the neck; abnormally low blood pressure or hypertension and they can progress and go into shock.
Photo: CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, DR. HAZEL LAWS.