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Doctors monitor new pediatric illness with possible links to COVID-19

Pediatric cases of COVID-19 continue to be low but doctors are now closely watching a new illness in children, believed to be linked to the virus.

EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County are on the decline. Most, if not all cases, were in adults.

Throughout this pandemic, the state has reported only one percent of cases in children up to age 18. 

However, a new pediatric illness is keeping doctors on their toes, and health officials believe it could be related to COVID-19.

"The pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome is a new entity and it involves inflammation of multiple systems which is triggered by the COVID infection which might have happened in the last few weeks in those children," said Dr. Susheer Gandotra, LVH-Pocono Infectious Disease.

According to the New York State Department of Health, more than 50 cases of this illness have been reported in children.

Health officials at Lehigh Valley Hospital - Pocono in East Stroudsburg say no cases have shown up in Monroe County, but doctors are still monitoring the situation.

Dr. Susheer Gandotra is the hospital's infectious disease director.  He says parents should be looking out for these symptoms.

"It involves fever for many days. It involves a red rash. It involves red eyes. Abdominal symptoms can be prominent. Children can have abdominal pain, diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes. Those are the symptoms and signs which we should be aware of as parents and as physicians," said Gandotra.

With summer just around the coroner, Dr. Gandotra says it's important for children to follow the same safety guidelines as adults.

Be sure your child is wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing their hands.

If your child is showing any symptoms of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, call your health care provider immediately.