An increasing number of New York children are getting sick with a mysterious illness that's likely linked to COVID-19.

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On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Health released initial findings of a study and announced 64 children were diagnosed with a new pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome that health officials believe is linked to COVID-19, NBC reports.

"A pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, recently reported by authorities in the United Kingdom is also being observed among children and young adults in New York City and elsewhere in the United States," Deputy Commissioner of the New York City Health Department's Division of Disease Control Dr. Demetre Daskalakis said in a letter to colleagues.

On Tuesday, New York City health officials say there were at least 15 suspected cases of the mysterious illness in people age 2-15. Four of the 15 four tested positive for COVID-19 while six had coronavirus antibodies, CBS reports.

"Clinical features vary, depending on the affected organ system, but have been noted to include features of Kawasaki disease or features of shock; however, the full spectrum of disease is not yet known. Persistent fever and elevated inflammatory markers (CRP, troponin, etc.) have been seen among affected patients. Patients with this syndrome who have been admitted to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) have required cardiac and/or respiratory support," Daskalakis stated,

Health officials say the illness is similar to Kawasaki disease a rare blood vessel disorder. Signs of Kawasaki disease included rash on the palms and soles, fever, vomiting, abdominal pain, swollen lymph nodes, and inflammation or red eyes.

“Generally, children present with prolonged high fevers, several days of very high fevers. They can also have very red eyes, very brightly colored lips. One of the hallmarks that we see is what we call a strawberry tongue, which means their tongue is very bright and red,” Dr. Barbot said. “The other symptoms children can have are a rash. They can have swelling of their hands and feet," New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot told CBS.

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