PM calls inquiry into virus-linked disease

The prime minister has ordered an urgent investigation into a coronavirus-linked illness suspected to have killed at least three children in the United States.

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy has been told to gather urgent medical advice on Kawasaki disease from Australia and overseas before political leaders meet later this week.

Kawasaki disease is the closest known illness to a disease that has developed in almost 100 American children.

“I will leave that to the medical experts to provide that advice but what they have said is there are no known cases or examples in Australia at this stage,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told Nine on Wednesday.

There are between 200 and 300 cases of Kawasaki disease diagnosed each year in Australia.

Professor Murphy says it is unlikely Australia will see a spike in cases of the mysterious disease which is like Kawasaki.

“It may appear in other countries with large volumes of infected people but because it’s so rare it’s unlikely to appear in Australia,” Professor Murphy told a Senate inquiry into coronavirus.

“We’ve got alerts on it and we’re clearly watching it.”

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