‘Weird MIS-C syndrome’: Children experiencing surge in rare disease linked to COVID-19

Alex, a child with COVID-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Credit: Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital
Alex, a child with COVID-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Credit: Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Doctors don’t know what causes it. Often kids have Covid-19 first, but not always. The novel coronavirus doesn’t usually cause severe disease in children, but for those few kids that do go on to develop [multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or] MIS-C, the condition seems to inflame different parts of the body, and it can be serious.

What doctors do know is that various children’s hospitals around the country have reported seeing a higher number of cases these past few months, even though MIS-C is considered rare.

In an update released [March 5], the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there have been 2,617 MIS-C cases in the United States before March 1, and 33 children have died. That’s up from early February, when 2,060 cases and 30 deaths had been reported.

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While MIS-C, is still relatively rare, Dr. Larry Kociolek, the associate medical director of infection prevention and control at Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, hopes parents will be on the lookout for MIS-C.

Better still, he said, he hopes parents will help their kids avoid exposure to Covid-19: Make sure kids wear a mask that fits, wash hands frequently, and keep the proper physical distance.

“I think all children are at risk,” Kociolek, said. “Like with every aspect of this pandemic, people just can’t get comfortable.”

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