A mysterious new coronavirus-related illness has hit the headlines in recent weeks, after several cases were seen in children across the globe.
The illness is being described as an ‘inflammatory syndrome’, similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome.
Now, doctors have warned that the illness is now showing up in adults in their early 20s.
Several patients in their early 20s have been hospitalised with the illness, including a 20-year-old in San Diego and a 25-year-old in New York, according to The Washington Post.
Worryingly, the illness appears to be more even more severe in adults than children.
Speaking to the Washington Post, Jennifer Lighter, a pediatric infectious diseases doctor at NYU Langone, said: “The older ones have had a more severe course.”
Doctors have now reported cases of the mysterious illness in the UK, the US, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
The first reports were in the UK, where there are believed to be at least 100 cases.
Meanwhile, France’s health minister, Olivier Veran, revealed earlier this month that the illness has been seen in ‘about 15 children of all ages.’
Speaking to Franceinfo, Mr Veran also confirmed that cases have been reported in Spain, Italy and Switzerland, listing fever, digestive issues and vascular inflammation as key symptoms.
The link between the illness and coronavirus remains unclear, with some children testing positive for COVID-19, and others negative.
A report by doctors in Birmingham last week indicated that there was a link between the two illnesses, but now the chief scientist of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that this may not be the case.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Dr Soumya Swaminathan said: “Very recently there have been some reports of children getting admitted with a strange syndrome, something that looks like sepsis, something that looks like a disease called Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation in the blood vessels.
“Now, it’s not very clear what the links are between Covid-19 and this syndrome. There are some children who tested positive for the virus and some who haven’t.
“The WHO has discussed this with a group of international paediatricians about how to approach this, and the need to collect more data. We put out a note two days ago, which requests doctors to provide information in a standardised format so that we can quickly learn as much as possible about the syndrome.
“But again to re-emphasise the risks to children are extremely low with this infection, and there have not been many cases.”