As more people contract the novel coronavirus, there’s also an increase in the number of individuals who experience strange and rare symptoms. A huge cause for concern has been the recent discovery that the coronavirus causes strokes and Kawasaki disease — a rare inflammatory condition — in those considered young and low-risk.
Coronavirus and Strokes
After spotting a rising trend in stroke and coronavirus patients, researchers suspected that the novel coronavirus causes strokes. Mount Sinai Hospital neurosurgeon J. Morro and his research team are currently searching for a potential causal connection between the two.
“We were seeing double the number of [stroke] cases,” Morro told Popular Science. “It was quite dramatic.”
Most alarming about the trend is the average age of the COVID-19 patients affected. Those who suffered from a stroke were considered low-risk, ages ranging from 33 to 49 years old. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people considered high-risk for COVID-19 are 65 years or older.
While there isn’t enough data yet for researchers to prove and explain a connection between strokes and coronavirus, they have their theories. Many believe the virus binds to receptors on the cells of blood vessels, causing clotting. However, this is all still just speculation, as further research is necessary in order to prove that coronavirus causes strokes.
When it comes to the apparent link between strokes and the coronavirus, some hospitals are taking more precautions than others. A number of hospitals have incorporated blood thinners into their COVID-19 treatment procedures.
Rare Case: Kawasaki Disease
Another blood flow-related condition has seen a rise in patients along with the growing number of COVID-19 Cases. It’s called the Kawasaki disease, and it causes inflammation of the artery walls and can prevent blood flow to the heart. It’s also most prevalent in infants and young children.
Symptoms for Kawasaki disease include rashes on the torso and groin, bloodshot eyes, swollen lips, “strawberry” tongue, swollen lymph nodes, swollen hands and feet, and redness in palms and the soles of the feet.
While Kawasaki disease is treatable and most children who develop it recover relatively safely, it can still be deadly. The cause for Kawasaki disease remains unknown, but studies suggest it’s linked to viruses or bacterial infections.
At Stanford Children’s Hospital in California, a six-month-old girl was admitted with the Kawasaki disease. She later tested positive for the coronavirus. Her symptoms only included fever and lack of appetite. She didn’t have a cough or experience congestion.
Outside the US, Italy and Spain have seen some patients suffer from both COVID-19 and Kawasaki disease. In spite of the limited number of Kawasaki disease and COVID-19 patients, experts maintain that this combination of diseases is a rare find.
Dr. Brad Segal, who worked on the case with the six-month-old told CNN that as far as his research team can tell, “this is something exceedingly uncommon.”