What Parents Need to Know About the COVID-Related Disease Affecting Kids

More than 200 kids in 19 states, including Illinois and Michigan, have suffered from a rare, potentially deadly disease linked to COVID-19 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now calling MIS-C or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.

Dr. Anne Rowley, infectious disease specialist at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital and professor of pediatrics in Infectious Diseases at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, says there have been very few cases in the Chicago area. Those who have been diagnosed are either recovering or fully recovered, she says.  

“This is still a rare condition. Children with this disorder have prolonged fever and appear ill,” she says. “Parents should consult their pediatrician as usual if they are concerned that their child is ill.”

The CDC guidelines released for doctors suggest they watch for a fever of at least 100.4 for at least 24 hours, inflammation and a rash.

In addition to persistent fever, the American Academy of Pediatrics also suggests parents to call their pediatrician with additional signs of abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting, trouble breathing or if your child is overly sleepy or confused.

The CDC instructed doctors to report cases in kids 21 and younger with inflammation in at least two organs and evidence of COVID-19 such as a test or recent exposure to someone with the virus.

“There is limited information currently available about risk factors, pathogenesis, clinical course, and treatment for MIS-C,” the CDC alert to doctors says.

Doctors in the United Kingdom first noticed increased reports of the disease on April 26 when previously healthy children started showing severe inflammatory syndrome with Kawasaki disease-like features, the CDC alert says.

“It is currently unknown if multisystem inflammatory syndrome is specific to children or if it also occurs in adults,” the alert says.

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