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Newly discovered virus linked to childhood lung disorders and Kawasaki disease

ough, runny nose, rapid breathing, abnormal breath sounds, and hypoxia; 35 had an underlying condition, such as prematurity (19 patients). Indeed, 11 of those infected with the new coronavirus were newborns hospitalized in intensive care. Analysis of the New Haven coronavirus's genetic structure showed many similarities to that of a coronavirus recently identified by two groups in the Netherlands, suggesting that the virus may have worldwide distribution. That Kawasaki disease may be associated with infection by the newly identified New Haven coronavirus was suggested by findings in the Yale group's second study, which was initiated when they found evidence of the virus's genetic structure in respiratory secretions from an infant with classic signs of Kawasaki disease. In addition to heart disease, the signs can include conjunctivitis, redness of the mouth or throat, rash, redness or swelling of the hands or feet, and swollen cervical lymph nodes. The investigators then analyzed respiratory secretions from 11 children diagnosed with Kawasaki disease and 22 children without the disease. Eight (73 percent) of the Kawasaki patients but only one (5 percent) of the comparison group tested positive for the New Haven coronavirus. In an accompanying editorial, Kenneth McIntosh of Harvard University commented that discovery of a new human respiratory coronavirus would not be surprising, since studies in the 1960s and 1970s had pointed to a number of novel coronavirus strains but the findings were not adequately followed up because methods to do so were unavailable at the time. The statistically strong association with Kawasaki disease, however, was "quite surprising." Noting that previous attempts to link Kawasaki disease to bacteria or other viruses had failed and thus justified healthy skepticism about the present findings, Dr. McIntosh pointed out some "tantalizing facts": onset of Kawasaki disease is often preceded by a respiratory syndrome; both the disease and respirat
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Source:Eurekalert


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