Doctors are investigating the case of a Winnipeg toddler with symptoms suggesting a rare, inflammatory illness potentially linked to COVID-19, the girl’s mother says.
The 21-month-old child is fighting to recover, even after she no longer tested positive for COVID-19.
The mother says health-care providers treating her daughter are concerned the girl may have developed Kawasaki disease, which is also known as multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in children.
Inflammatory syndromes can result from the body’s reaction to new viruses — not just the new coronavirus. But doctors in Canada, and scientists around the world, are investigating for a link to COVID-19.
Public health officials say no cases of the conditions connected with COVID-19 have been confirmed in Manitoba so far.
“Honestly, it’s just terrifying … Doctors don’t have the answers,” said the girl’s mother, who CBC is not naming due to concern about stigma.
The toddler’s parents didn’t know what to make of the her symptoms. She had a red, puffy rash, vomiting and diarrhea, a tender abdomen and a recurring fever that spiked to 38.9 C (102 F).
“She refused to eat, barely had anything to drink,” said her mother.
Pediatricians they contacted were cautious about sending the child to a hospital, and told the mother to try Tylenol, thinking the girl had a flu.
On April 28, two days after the girl’s symptoms arose, the family learned the husband has been exposed to a co-worker who later tested positive for COVID-19.
They went for testing immediately, and blood work confirmed the toddler had COVID-19, the mother said.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="WATCH | Toronto doctor answers questions about inflammatory syndrome following COVID-19” data-reactid=”34″>WATCH | Toronto doctor answers questions about inflammatory syndrome following COVID-19
At that point, Manitoba had fewer than 25 active cases of the disease and was announcing plans for reopening.
“It was absolutely devastating,” the mother said. “How could it possibly be COVID … with the cases being so low?”
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="‘More unknowns than knowns’” data-reactid=”37″>‘More unknowns than knowns’
A provincial spokesperson said since Kawasaki disease isn’t required to be reported in Manitoba, officials can’t confirm investigations into the illness in Manitoba.
The spokesperson said Manitoba pediatric infectious disease experts are in constant communication with specialists in Ontario and Quebec.
Hospitals in Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Alberta are examining possible cases of MIS-C. Experts say the illness is difficult to diagnose and cases remain ill defined.
“There are way more unknowns than knowns,” said Rae Yeung, a professor of pediatrics, immunology and medical sciences at the University of Toronto, and staff pediatrician and rheumatologist at the Hospital for Sick Children.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""Right now, the big challenge is that there is not one diagnostic test … that can actually tell us whether a child has MIS-C or Kawasaki disease, [which are] all one hyper-inflammatory syndrome," said Yeung.” data-reactid=”42″>”Right now, the big challenge is that there is not one diagnostic test … that can actually tell us whether a child has MIS-C or Kawasaki disease, [which are] all one hyper-inflammatory syndrome,” said Yeung.
“As we’re learning, the one common denominator is that they have massive immune activation. But many things can cause massive immune activation.”
When she’s not sick, the child in Winnipeg is “very chatty. She’s energetic, running around,” said her mother.
COVID-19 sucked that energy away as the toddler mostly slept.
Eventually, “she was only awake approximately three hours in a 24-hour period,” her mother said.
After she tested positive, doctors admitted the toddler to the hospital for treatment and testing to rule out anything else that may have been making her sicker.
Initially, doctors hoped her body could fight off the disease on its own, her mother said. But the family has been in and out of the hospital for weeks as her condition remained serious.
Last week, the toddler’s health took a turn for the worse. But on May 28, tests showed she’s now negative for COVID-19 and is fighting a new medical battle.
Doctors then raised the possibility of MIS-C or Kawasaki, the mother said, and will now begin further tests to help understand exactly what is making her daughter so ill.
“You just kind of feel helpless because you can’t make [your children] feel better,” she said.
“You don’t want to see them sick, especially with something so serious as a pandemic. You just wish you could take their pain away.”
Yeung calls MIS-C “the syndrome with many different names,” because depending on where you are in the world, it might be called different things.
“I think this is part of the reason why it’s led to some confusion and a lot of anxiety, in fact, among not only families, but also caregivers and health-care professionals,” she said.
Much of what’s known about the disease remains hypothetical, she said, and research is needed to understand more. At its core, the syndrome can be characterized by inflammation, especially in blood vessels, caused by a hyperactivation of the immune system.
“What we’re seeing in all of these syndromes is hyper inflammation — just an overactive immune system that’s gone into overdrive, affecting multiple organs in the body,” she said.
The illnesses in that family are triggered by a “tickle” to the immune system, Yeung said, starting with anything from strep throat to the novel coronavirus. Canada documents roughly 100 to 150 cases of Kawasaki disease a year, she said.
But epidemiology in Europe, the U.S. and Canada has suggested a pattern, as cases of inflammatory syndromes in children emerge roughly four to six weeks following the peak coronavirus outbreak in each population.
Many, even most, of the children diagnosed with these illnesses don’t initially test positive when swabbed for COVID-19, Yeung said, but blood work often shows the children had the disease previously.
It’s still not clear exactly how many cases of the inflammatory illness there are in Canada, Yeung said. She said at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, they’re seeing roughly three to four times the volume of these illnesses over normal years.
Yeung is helping lead research, in partnership with the Canadian Paediatric Society and the Public Health Agency of Canada, with doctors across the country to determine where cases are and help understand them better.
“I think sharing knowledge and alerting the public is a very important component of this,” Yeung said.
The mother of the Winnipeg toddler said she wanted to share her story to spread information and urge caution from parents.
“It’s rare, but it’s serious,” the mother said. “If you’re in doubt, take your child to the hospital.”
Rare comet passing over Manitoba sky | CTV News – CTV News Winnipeg
Stargazers in Manitoba can get a glimpse of the brightest comet in years as it hurtles past Earth over the next several days.
Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3, named after the satellite that first discovered it, has been travelling towards Earth in recent days, before it returns to the outer edges of the solar system.
Photos submitted from Manitobans show the comet as it appeared in the morning sky on Thursday.
(Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 is pictured over Winnipeg in a pair of photos take July 9, 2020. Source: Roy Jemison)
(Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 is visible over Steinbach on July 9, 2020. SOURCE: Christopher Bleasdale)
Scott Young, who is the manager of the Planetarium and Science Gallery at the Manitoba Museum, said this comet wasn’t expected to be as bright as it is.
“This wasn’t predicted to be all that impressive but as it swung around the soon it suddenly burst into brightness,” said Young.
It’s one of the few “naked-eye comets” of the 21st century, meaning it can be seen without a telescope. The comet was first discovered on March 27, 2020, and NASA was unsure if it would make it to Earth as the comet travelled towards the sun.
Young said over the next several days this will be the only time to see the comet.
“We won’t see it again for at least 6,000 years. So it’s kind of your only chance.”
(SOURCE: Scott Young/Manitoba Museum)
Young added the reason why this comet is so unique is because of how bright it is.
“I can count on the fingers of one hand how many comets we’ve had that have been this impressive. I mean, I have seen a lot of comets, but there’s only a couple that have outshone this in my entire lifetime.”
NASA said the comet will likely be visible in the early morning sky until July 11. It will be visible in the early evening sky after July 11.
Young says if people want to see it, it’s best to be away from the city and all the lights.
(SOURCE: Scott Young/Manitoba Museum)
– With files from CTV’s Jackie Dunham.
This is a corrected story. The original story said the comet was discovered in 2009, when it was discovered this year.
Scientists Discover Unexplained Glowing Circles of Energy in Space – VICE
The Tycho supernova. Image: NASA/CXC/RIKEN & GSFC/T. Sato et al; Optical: DSS
Astronomers have discovered a bunch of weird unidentified circles in space, visible only in radio light, thanks to images captured by one of the most sensitive observatories on the planet.
The mysterious rings “do not seem to correspond to any known type of object” and so have been simply dubbed Odd Radio Circles, or ORCs, according to a new study, led by Western Sydney University astrophysicist Ray Norris.
“We have discovered, to the best of our knowledge, a new class of radio-astronomical object, consisting of a circular disc, which in some cases is limb-brightened, and sometimes contains a galaxy at its centre,” Norris and his colleagues said in the study, which was recently posted on the preprint server arXiv and has not yet been peer-reviewed.
“None of the known types of radio object seems able to explain it,” the team said.
The team describes four of these inscrutable ORCs, three of which were detected by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope, a network of radio antennae that covers four square kilometers of the Australian Mid West. ASKAP has been scanning the sky in the radio spectrum to create an Evolutionary Map of the Universe that could help scientists better understand the development of stars and galaxies.
Norris and his colleagues noticed three odd blobs in ASKAP’s 2019 observations. Each of the circles measures about one arcminute across, which is roughly equivalent to 3 percent the diameter of the Moon. However, it’s difficult to tell how far away the ORCs are based on these images, and that in turn makes it challenging to estimate the actual size of the objects, at least until more detailed observations are made.
The glowing circles are so bizarre that Norris and his colleagues wondered if they might be an instrumental glitch, especially since radio imagery often contains errors that look like rounded apparitions, according to the study.
But when the team went hunting through archival datasets, they were surprised to discover that a fourth ORC was imaged all the way back in 2013 by India’s Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope, though nobody had made note of it at the time.
By combing through past radio surveys, as well as obtaining new images with the Australia Telescope Compact Array, the researchers were able to collect at least two independent observations of each ORC. The fact that the circles show up across multiple telescope datasets makes instrumental error “a very improbable explanation,” the team said in the study.
So if the ORCs are real celestial objects, what could they be? Norris and his colleagues outline several possible identities for the objects, though none of them are an obvious fit.
The circles might be the fallout of exploded stars, or bubbles blown out by winds in galactic star factories, or “Einstein rings,” which are signatures of warped spacetime created by the gravity of massive objects. They could be the ghosts of highly energetic events that occurred millions of years ago, such as gamma ray bursts, fast radio bursts, or plasma jets emitted by active galactic cores.
“We also acknowledge the possibility that the ORCs may represent more than one phenomenon,” the team noted, adding that they may have been “discovered simultaneously because they match the spatial frequency characteristics of the ASKAP observations, which occupy a part of the observational parameter space which has hitherto been poorly studied.”
Norris and his colleagues plan to continue examining the ORCS to see if they can tease out some of these tantalizing mysteries. One thing’s clear, however: discoveries like this are likely to become more common as radio astronomy matures in the coming years.
Within the next decade or so, ASKAP will join the Square Kilometre Array, a massive intercontinental observatory currently in construction, which will be by far the most sensitive radio instrument on Earth once it’s operational. The discovery of the ORCs is fascinating by itself, but it also foreshadows a new era of astronomy that is already sharpening our view of space.
This article originally appeared on VICE US.
CINDY DAY: Don’t miss this once in a lifetime event to see Comet NEOWISE – SaltWire Network
If you’ve been paying attention to the news lately, you are most likely familiar with the word “NEOWISE.” If not, let me introduce you:
NEOWISE is the name of a comet that was discovered in March 2020. This comet is visiting from the most distant parts of our solar system and for the next couple of weeks, could put on quite a show. The comet made its once-in-a-lifetime close approach to the Sun on July 3 and will cross outside Earth’s orbit on its way back to the outer parts of the solar system by mid-August.
On July 22, the comet will reach its closest point to Earth — a distance of 103 million kilometres — but because comets can be unpredictable, a little like the weather, experts are not sure that it will still be visible to the naked eye.
For the last few days, NEOWISE has been visible an hour before sunrise, very low in the northeastern sky. As of Sunday, the comet will be visible in the evening as well. About an hour after sunset, it will appear near the northwestern horizon. As the month goes on, it will rise higher in the sky, moving toward the Big Dipper. Right now, the comet is visible to the naked eye, but a good pair of binoculars would offer a better view. In very dark skies, you should be able to spot a nucleus and get a pretty good look at the fuzzy comet and its long, streaky tail.
Its name, in fact, is an acronym. The comet was discovered by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer or NEOWISE.
From its infrared signature, experts have discovered that the icy visitor is about five kilometres in diameter. It has a nucleus that is covered with sooty, dark particles left over from its formation near the birth of our solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.
After this encounter, astronomers expect Comet NEOWISE to bid farewell for quite some time. Its long, looping orbit around our star will bring it back to Earth’s vicinity more than 6,000 years from now.
Cindy Day is the chief meteorologist for SaltWire Network
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