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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — COVID-19 appears to be taking on a new form in kids.

Fifteen children between the ages of 2 and 15 have been hospitalized in New York with symptoms of Kawasaki disease, a serious illness first noted in children with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

There are no cases in this area, but doctors and parents are on the lookout.

Life has been turned upside down for parents Ayolanda and Adrian Mack.

“We feel so protective. As soon as we knew that COVID was in Minnesota, we started with a vitamin regimen, we started adding extra garlic to our meals and ginger. We really ramped up the fresh fruits and fresh vegetables,” Ayolanda Mack said.

The north Minneapolis parents say, like many, they’ve been keeping their kids at close range.

“In terms of their play, they can only play in the backyard, it’s a fenced-in yard. They can’t go out into the community,” she said. “It’s been stressful maintaining that level of tight security around them.”

But they are right on target, according to Hennepin Healthcare pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Stacence Marouschek.

“We are picking up a number of kids with COVID, but again, they have quite symptoms. They often come in with an adult that’s a lot sicker,” Marouschek said.

Most cases here have been mild in kids, but in New York and the UK, kids are getting Kawasaki’s disease — an intense inflammatory reaction which causes shock, fever and heart issues. Researchers believe it could be triggered by COVID-19.

Doctors are on the lookout locally and, hope parents will be, too.

“I would say that if your kid has a very unusual bright red rash, is exceedingly irritable, you know, aren’t able to console them, super high fevers, they may need to be evaluated by a medical professional,” Marouschek said.

The biggest danger she warns when it comes to kids is who they could infect.

“It’s the kids who have very few symptoms that are spreading it to grandpa, grandma, auntie, you know, neighbors that have, you know, some underlying medical conditions, so you have to have to still remain your vigilance,” Marouschek said.

And the Macks are committed to doing just that.

“We are staying the course, but also be sensitive to their needs, emotionally and physically, and we are trying to adapt,” Adrian Mack said.

Dr. Marouschek says COVID-19 is likely presenting differently in children because their immune systems are different.

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Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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