Paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 mimicking Kawasaki disease (Kawa-COVID-19): a multicentre cohort

Ann Rheum Dis. 2020 Aug;79(8):999-1006. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2020-217960. Epub 2020 Jun 11.


Background: Current data suggest that COVID-19 is less frequent in children, with a milder course. However, over the past weeks, an increase in the number of children presenting to hospitals in the greater Paris region with a phenotype resembling Kawasaki disease (KD) has led to an alert by the French national health authorities.

Methods: Multicentre compilation of patients with KD in Paris region since April 2020, associated with the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) ('Kawa-COVID-19'). A historical cohort of 'classical' KD served as a comparator.

Results: Sixteen patients were included (sex ratio=1, median age 10 years IQR (4·7 to 12.5)). SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 12 cases (69%), while a further three cases had documented recent contact with a quantitative PCR-positive individual (19%). Cardiac involvement included myocarditis in 44% (n=7). Factors prognostic for the development of severe disease (ie, requiring intensive care, n=7) were age over 5 years and ferritinaemia >1400 µg/L. Only five patients (31%) were successfully treated with a single intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIg) infusion, while 10 patients (62%) required a second line of treatment. The Kawa-COVID-19 cohort differed from a comparator group of 'classical' KD by older age at onset 10 vs 2 years (p<0.0001), lower platelet count (188 vs 383 G/L (p<0.0001)), a higher rate of myocarditis 7/16 vs 3/220 (p=0.0001) and resistance to first IVIg treatment 10/16 vs 45/220 (p=0.004).

Conclusion: Kawa-COVID-19 likely represents a new systemic inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in children. Further prospective international studies are necessary to confirm these findings and better understand the pathophysiology of Kawa-COVID-19. Trial registration number NCT02377245.

Keywords: cytokines; inflammation; outcome and process assessment, health care.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Betacoronavirus*
  • COVID-19
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / virology
  • Pandemics
  • Paris / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / virology
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / virology

Supplementary concepts

  • pediatric multisystem inflammatory disease, COVID-19 related

Associated data