Kansas City, Missouri — With the increase in COVID-19 cases, Kansas City pediatricians are worried about seeing an increase in multisystem inflammatory syndrome.
MIS-C tends to increase or decrease depending on the number of COVID-19 cases in the community and is primarily intended for children 2 to 6 weeks after a positive virus test.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 4,400 cases of MIS-C have been reported since the onset of the pandemic, of which 37 have died of the syndrome.
Dr. Jennifer Schster of the Pediatric Multisystem Hospital states that the hospital has treated 62 confirmed cases of MIS-C since the pandemic began. Staff went for weeks early in the summer without seeing new cases, but in the last few weeks they have begun to see an increase.
She attributed this pattern to low youth vaccination rates and loose COVID-19 safety restrictions.
“Unfortunately, in many cases, parents didn’t know that their child was infected with COVID-19, so they don’t suspect this is MIS-C,” Schuster said.
MIS-C is a rare COVID-19 complication, but if left untreated, it can have dangerous consequences for children. Schuster says this is why it is so important for parents to notice the signs early on.
“Children with MIS-C are usually not at home. They all require hospitalization,” Schuster said.
Symptoms vary on a case-by-case basis, but parents should be aware of red eyes and lips, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, prolonged fever, dyspnea, and behavioral changes. Doctors still understand how or why the syndrome can cause serious organ complications.
“Our most serious cases are often due to the child’s heart not pumping blood properly or having serious heart damage. These are cases that require care in the intensive care unit. . “
Most children tend to succeed in the recovery process, but doctors are worried about the long-term effects of this syndrome as they grow up in adulthood.
“In the long run, we follow a lot. We examine their liver and kidneys to make sure their organ function is back to normal,” Schuster said. ..
The CDC reports that the median age of MIS-C patients is 9 years and the syndrome is diagnosed primarily in black and Hispanic children. However, Schster says more cases were seen in his late teens and early twenties.
“Honestly, my biggest horror at one point was that he didn’t intend to do that,” said Jennifer Smith, Renexa’s five mothers.
Smith’s son, Austin McCombs, was one of the teenagers suffering from MIS-C, COVID-19, and pneumonia. He had a fever, low oxygen, and inflamed heart and liver.
An allergic reaction to his treatment made his recovery difficult, and since signing it in April, his lab results have finally cleared last week.
“I was very scared.” Smith said, “I’ve never seen him so sick.”
It’s the mother of emotions that Christy Martin can relate to after helping her son fight the syndrome.
Her son, Brooks, tested positive for COVID-19 in December 2020 and developed MIS-C about seven weeks later. She is worried that even though Brooks appears to be back to normal, Brooks may return to Children’s Mercy due to future complications.
“The first thought from the doctor was appendicitis. Treatment with antibiotics only delayed treatment by a few days. Some children removed the appendix and gallbladder and it is still getting worse.”
She wants to let her parents know the importance of early diagnosis and what symptoms she should look for in her child. If parents suspect that their child may be positive for MIS-C, Martin suggests asking a doctor to perform a clinical test for inflammatory markers.
“Brooks was asymptomatic and positive and asked me if he would die after seven weeks,” Martin said.
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