EL PASO, Texas -- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 3,000 children in 48 states have been diagnosed with a rare but serious Covid-19 related condition called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C. Out of all the children diagnosed with MIS-C, 36 have died.
ABC-7 medical contributor Dr. Neha Sharma, the medical director for The Hospitals of Providence Northeast and Horizon City, explained what MIS-C is Friday on ABC-7 at Four.
"It's an extreme immune response to Covid-19 that causes severe inflammation in vital organs and tissues and if left untreated, could be life threatening," Dr. Sharma said. "We have known since the beginning of this pandemic that children were mostly spared from getting severely sick from Covid-19. A year later, that still remains true with the majority of children either asymptomatic or experiencing only mild symptoms from the virus. However, we are seeing cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. "
Dr. Sharma said while we don't know what causes MIS-C and which children are most at risk, research is being conducted to better understand it.
Parents of children who have recovered from Covid-19 need to be aware of the symptoms of MIS-C. "All children with MIS-C have a fever for more than a day that doesn't respond to fever reducing medications," said Dr. Sharma. "Other symptoms include fatigue, loss of appetite and younger children seem to develop a sunburn like rash, bloodshot eyes, swollen hands and feet. Adolescents and teens tend to have more GI symptoms like nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain."
Once MIS-C is diagnosed, treatment is straightforward. "Many children who develop MIS-C don't get critically ill or require intensive care," commented Dr. Sharma. "A majority of children who are treated for MIS-C fully recover. Treatment includes high dose aspirin, fluids and various medications to treat inflammation. There is hope that more data and research will help improve treatment options."
Dr. Sharma says the best way for parents to protect their children from getting MIS-C is to minimize their exposure to Covid-19. Additionally she says the recent news about the Moderna vaccine trial in infants and young children is also extremely hopeful and will serve as a key prevention measure.