We’ve heard a lot in the news lately about pediatric multi-system inflammatory disease being linked to COVID-19 cases in kids. The new development is frightening for families, especially as we weigh the possibility of camp, and school next year. So what exactly do we need to know? Our parent company, The Local Moms Network reached out to the experts at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital for more information. They spoke to Marietta Vázquez, MD, who is a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious disease specialist. She sees patients at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital, where six patients have been diagnosed with this syndrome so far.
What exactly is this disorder?
It is now called MIS-C, which stands for multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19. This appears to be a new manifestation of COVID-19 infection. Thus far is seen only in children and it presents with severe inflammatory syndrome with a laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 or an epidemiological link to a COVID-19 case. We call it multisystem because it can affect different body parts that become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. MIS-C has been reported in the US and Europe.
Can you explain in layman’s terms what this means?
This seems to be a new manifestation associated with COVID-19. There is much we still don’t know, but it appears to occur in children after they have gotten better from COVID, and it has a lot of similarities to other diseases we see in pediatrics, including Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. Overall, our patients are doing well, and this is not a cause for panic—but the message is to be vigilant. If you have a child with a high fever for no other apparent reason, and other symptoms such as red eyes, belly pain, a prickly heat rash all over the body, muscle aches, vomiting, or diarrhea, call your pediatrician.
What should parents know about this syndrome—what should we be looking for?
If their child develops a high fever that is not easily explained by other causes and abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or feeling extra tired, they should call their healthcare provider.
How rare is it?
It’s important to note that, although a very severe presentation with many of the affected children having to be cared for in the hospital and in the intensive care unit, it remains to be very rare.
How closely linked is it to COVID-19?
Most patients have acute or past infection or a history of being exposed to COVID-19 infection.
How can parents continue to protect kids from COVID-19 and this syndrome?
Continue to observe guidelines from CDC and CT’s Department of Public Health: avoid crowds, use facial covers and physical distancing, and practicing frequent handwashing.
At this point do you recommend kids or parents get antibody tests?
Only in consultation with their healthcare provider.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Be vigilant, and don’t panic.
This post originally appeared on The Local Moms Network.