What We Know About Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome In Children

Steve Scott
May 21, 2020 - 10:59 am

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — More than 100 children in New York have fallen ill with a rare inflammatory illness linked to COVID-19.

    There have been at least 200 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in 19 states and the District of Columbia. Several children, including a 5-year-old boy in New York City and a 7-year-old boy in Westchester, have died. 

    WCBS 880 spoke with Dr. Christina Johns of PM Pediatrics about the syndrome which has been targeting children. 

    Do we know what causes this syndrome?

    We don’t know precisely what causes this syndrome. What we are seeing is a cluster of symptoms that tends to occur not during a COVID infection, but in fact, most likely weeks later. It’s what we consider a post infectious inflammatory syndrome.

    What is the connection to COVID-19?

    We don’t exactly know what the connection is to Covid-19, but what we believe happens is that after the infection, the immune system kind of goes haywire. It performs some extra inflammatory reactions in the body and that’s what causes all of these symptoms; the fever, the abdominal pain, and vomiting and diarrhea and rashes. It is more like an overactive inflammatory response, immune response in the body.

    What should parents be watching out for in their kids?

    What I would say to parents is to keep a close eye on anytime your child as a fever. And particularly, what we are seeing is fever associated with abdominal pain. Abdominal pain and any gastrointestinal symptoms, like vomiting and diarrhea, when you put those two things together, I think at this point it really makes sense, especially if the child is ill appearing, to get some guidance from a healthcare professional. This is not the kind of thing that you wait a week to see if it’s going to go away. These children can get sick very quickly, and while it’s still rare, and I think it’s important to say that. We are hearing about these cluster of cases but by and large it is rare, we need to raise awareness about it, but we don’t want to panic about it. However, if a child is having fever that certainly hangs on for more than a day or two and there’s distinct abdominal pain and gastrointestinal symptoms, call a clinician to get some guidance for next steps. Don’t wait.

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