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Poway boy's immune disease may be COVID-linked

Posted at 4:50 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 12:58:21-04

POWAY, Calif. (KGTV) - A 10-year-old boy's suspected case of COVID-19 is sparking questions because of some unusual symptoms.

Melanie Sherman first became sick two and a half months ago.

"My first symptom was chest tightening and difficulty breathing. I also got very tired," she said.

Within 10 days, her son Joshua, who suffers from asthma, also got sick. His symptoms mirrored hers.

"My chest was very tight. It was hard to breathe. Had a fever that was jumping up and down," said Joshua.

His ill mom spent her nights watching him breathe.

"It's scary talking about it ... Just monitoring it. His chest was moving very, very slow," said Melanie.

After a tense few weeks - around early April - Joshua seemed to be getting better. Then a few weeks ago, he complained of body aches, chills and something on his leg.

"The bumps appeared on my legs, then more appeared each day," said Joshua.

At Rady Children's Hospital, doctors diagnosed him with Henoch-Schonliein Purpura, a disease with an abnormal immune response which causes small blood vessels in the body to become inflamed and leak.

As for a coronavirus link, Melanie never qualified for a test. Joshua recently tested negative, but doctors suspect he had it.

"The doctors told us this HSP could be related to an after effect from COVID-19," said Melanie.

Joshua's case is coming to light amid an increasing number of children stricken with a potentially deadly inflammatory condition likely linked to COVID-19. Dubbed Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, it has impacted more than 100 kids in 14 states.

The condition, which acts like Kawasaki Disease, causes inflammation of the coronary arteries. Among the possible symptoms is a rash. The feeling of uncertainty surrounding the condition and COVID-19 is one Melanie knows well.

"It's been terrifying and scary. Such an unknown and strange disease. You don't know what could come, how bad it can get. Nobody can really answer that properly," said Melanie.

Joshua's rash has subsided and he's escaped the major concern of kidney damage. Melanie says according to his pediatrician, Joshua is one of two local children diagnosed with the disease and suspected of contracting COVID-19.