ON THE HEELS OF THE CORONAVIRUS comes multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), which has begun reaching the greater Houston area. The disease, which impacts children and some young adults, began showing up throughout Europe over the past several weeks and eventually made its way to the United States.
“It is a rare disease, but we will continue to see cases rise throughout the summer,” said Dr. Keith Jensen, Regional Medical Director/Pediatric Emergency Medicine for HCA Houston Healthcare. “Just like Coronavirus, we will have to be on guard as it develops.”
Texas is one of 20 states that have reported cases of MIS-C. As of Friday morning, there had been several hundred cases across the nation, with New York City reporting 89 confirmed cases.
Symptoms of MIS-C include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, excessively red eyes and constant fatigue.
“We don’t understand where it’s coming from, but we do think it comes from an immune response,” said Jensen. “We don’t know which children would get it, but the best solution would be to follow the same guidelines of Coronavirus, which includes social distancing, washing your hands and avoiding those who may be symptomatic.”
Jensen suggests that parents need to watch if their children have shown symptoms of MIS-C over the course of several days. “There is no reason to keep them at home,” he said. “If they are showing signs, they need to see their doctor to be evaluated and have testing done.”
There is a sense of worry that the syndrome may be underdiagnosed in adults. In the case of a 20-year-old in San Diego who contracted MIS-C, the doctors of Rady Children’s Hospital, where the 20-year-old was admitted, are currently setting up a system for its staff to screen adults for MIS-C along with discussing with health officials to attempt to expand warnings about the syndrome to younger adults.
“Maybe this is coming their way,” said Dr. Jane Burns, director of the MIS-C Disease Clinic at Rady Children’s Hospital, according to a report from The Washington Post.
A majority of MIS-C patients have antibodies against coronavirus, instead of an active infection. “What we know is that it is post-infection,” said Jensen. “It’s usually 2-4 weeks after the infection. There were some cases where the patients may not have known they had coronavirus.”
As a whole, HCA Houston’s pediatric team has seen few cases of Coronavirus in children. The majority they have treated originally came in with mild symptoms that included gastro-intestinal issues, while older youth had symptoms such as headaches.
In some cases, the patients were admitted for precautionary reasons.
“There has been a lot of concern with Coronavirus and children, but we have not been greatly impacted,” said Jensen. “Our pediatric staff has held up very well throughout this pandemic.”