Hospitals have seen a spike incases of MIS-C, a rare pediatric condition related to COVID-19. MIS-C can cause inflammation of vital organs, including the heart and lungs, and be deadly.
Symptoms of MIS-C include a persistent fever, rash, vomiting, diarrhea, bloodshot eyes, and abdominal pain.
With less than 0.1 percent of all deaths from COVID-19 occurring in people under age 18, children have been significantly less affected by the pandemic than older adults.
But that doesn’t mean they’ve been spared. Exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 puts kids at risk of a serious condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
The condition can cause problems in major organs and, in some cases, lead to death. While the condition is rare, cases of MIS-C have spiked in recent months.
And as states continue to roll back restrictions on schools and businesses, experts are concerned that more children could be put at risk of this potentially deadly condition as they wait for a COVID-19 vaccine.
MIS-C is a condition that causes severe inflammation in children’s organs, such as the heart, brain, lungs, kidneys, and gastrointestinal system.
While doctors have yet to determine the specific cause of the syndrome, it’s known to occur in children who had the virus that causes COVID-19, or spent time around someone with the disease, sometime within the last few weeks.
“We think that a COVID-19 infection can set off this very excessive immune response that causes inflammation throughout the body that can affect multiple organs,” explained Dr. Christina Gagliardo, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Atlantic Health System in New Jersey.
MIS-C is not common, but when it occurs, it can be life threatening. At least 33 childrenTrusted Source have died from MIS-C, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data last updated on March 1.
“A child with severe MIS-C requiring them to be placed on a ventilator or ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), which is a machine that does the job of the heart and lungs, could be in the hospital for a week or more,” added Gagliardo.
Despite the severity of the condition, the vast majority of children with MIS-C ultimately recover.
However, doctors worry that the condition, like COVID-19, may cause lasting damage to children’s health.