The Mysterious Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in Children
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, children have been left relatively untouched by the pandemic. Some data show that the clinical manifestations of COVID-19 tend to be milder in children compared to adults. However, children from all over the world, including Europe, Britain, and the United States are being hospitalized because of the multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), formerly called the pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS), and are requiring intensive care. As of May 12th, NYC has investigated 102 new cases of MIS-C in children and three deaths (Moyer, 2020). Doctors and researchers suspect that there is a link between MIS-C and COVID-19, though they have not found the direct cause. Many believe that there is a temporal relationship between COVID-19 and the illness. This means that the children who have MIS-C are those who have recovered from the novel coronavirus after being infected, later show an immune response that results in high levels of inflammation in organ systems.
To reassure parents, it is important to note that the reports of children who have these symptoms are rare and that it is not contagious. In order for the child to have MIS-C he or she must have been infected previously. The recent manifestation of MIS-C is being compared to other types of childhood conditions, such as the Kawaski Disease and toxic shock syndrome. Some of the symptoms include a fever, abdominal pain, rashes, and trouble breathing (list of symptoms below according to the Los Angeles Children’s hospital).
· a fever lasting more than 24 hours
· abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
· rash or changes in skin color
· trouble breathing
· your child seems confused or overly sleepy
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some hospitals have had success treating MIS-C with a combination of immunotherapy and certain steroids, in order to lessen the immune response. Research on MIS-C is currently at its infancy, so we must remain skeptical at the reliability and accuracy of statements made in the press.
Du, W., Yu, J., Wang, H., Zhang, X., Zhang, S., Li, Q., & Zhang, Z. (2020). Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in children compared with adults in Shandong Province, China. Infection, 1–8. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s15010-020-01427-2
Moyer, M. W. (2020, May 19). What We Know About the Covid-Related Syndrome Affecting Children. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/19/parenting/pmis-coronavirus-children.html
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C): What Parents Should Know. (2020, May 19). Retrieved from https://www.chla.org/blog/health-and-safety-tips/multisystem-inflammatory-syndrome-children-mis-c-what-parents-should