Covid-19 in ChildrenJun 08, 2020 10:54AM ● By David Dykes
By Liv Osby
Your child got the coronavirus. Maybe he had a runny nose and cough, but he came through just fine.
Then several weeks later, he develops a fever, a rash and bloodshot eyes. And he can't get out of bed.
What could be wrong with him now?
It could be multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, says Dr. Anna Kathryn Burch, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Prisma Health Midlands in Columbia.
"If you notice your child is having fever, rash, red eyes, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, or is very fatigued and doesn't look right," she adds, "you need to call your pediatrician or health care provider right away." "It typically happens somewhere between three and four weeks after a case of Covid-19," Burch says.
MIS-C is a condition that causes inflammation anywhere in the body after a child has recovered from Covid-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can affect the heart, lungs, kidneys and other internal organs. And in rare cases, it can be deadly.
MIS-C can occur in children who were obviously sick and tested positive for the virus, but it can even occur in children who had no symptoms, Burch says. A significant portion of people who get Covid-19 are asymptomatic, health officials say.
As of June 4, there were no reported cases in South Carolina, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
In April, eight cases of MIS-C, including one death, were reported in the United Kingdom, according to the CDC. All tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, indicating they'd had Covid-19.
And the New York State Health Department was investigating 190 cases in people under 21 by June 2 - 97 percent of them 19 or younger - including three deaths. Additional cases have been reported in other countries, according to the CDC.
Little is known about the condition, including whether it can also affect adults.
But it mimics Kawasaki Syndrome, another condition seen in children, which is associated with viral infections that causes an overwhelming inflammatory response with similar symptoms to MIS-C, Burch says.
Not all children have the same symptoms. Burch says other things to look for include confusion, inability to answer questions appropriately, trouble breathing or a hard time waking up.
In that case, the child should be taken to the ER, she says.
"Kids get so many respiratory viral illnesses, and we're not always taking them to the doctor," she says. "Especially now during Covid-19, we want to keep them home."
Researchers believe that at least so far, MIS-C is rare, she says.
"We don't know the percentage of children who go on to develop this ... because this is a brand new disease," she says. "Even though we are getting information out to parents to be on the lookout for it, the chance is still rare that this would happen to your kid."
Public health officials want parents to be aware that it could happen, and to take appropriate steps if it does because most children will need to be hospitalized, Burch says.
So what does Burch advise people to do to protect themselves, their children and others? Wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.
"Unfortunately, we don't know the cause," she says. "But most kids get over this and do well with it."
SYMPTOMS OF MIS-C
- Abdominal pain
- Neck pain
- Bloodshot eyes
- Feeling extra tired
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention