In a phenomenon that is worrying paediatricians, 75% of the children worst affected by paediatric inflammatory multi-system syndrome (PIMS) were black, Asian or ethnic minority (BAME). Almost four out of five children were previously healthy, according to an unpublished snapshot of cases.
It often involves rashes, a temperature of up to 40C, dangerously low blood pressure and abdominal problems, and in serious cases its symptoms are like those of toxic shock or the potentially fatal condition sepsis. Two children are thought to have died of PIMS since the pandemic began.
Part of a presentation she made to a recent webinar attended by more than 1,000 paediatricians showed that, in a “first national report” into 78 patients with PIMS who ended up in intensive care, 47% were of Afro-Caribbean origin and 28% of Asian background – between five and six times higher than the 14% of the UK’s population who are BAME.
Dr Liz Whittaker, the PIMS spokesperson for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: “We are doing research to understand why this population is affected. Genetics may be a player.
Separate data collected by Dr Marie White of the Evelina showed that 60% of the 107 cases of PIMS they had treated up until 13 January were black African or Caribbean children.