As many as 300 cases of a rare, life-threatening syndrome in children and adolescents associated with the novel coronavirus have been identified in the United States in two studies published by the The New England Journal of Medicine. The studies follow several reports of the syndrome among COVID-19 patients in France, Italy, Spain and Britain.
It includes Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, including fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation.
Michael Levin, professor of pediatrics and international child health at the Imperial College London said that a consistent picture is emerging of the syndrome occurring every two to four weeks after infection by coronavirus. The syndrome affects 2 in 100,000 young people, defined as under age 21, out of 322 in 100,000 in that group who get the virus.
While the studies identified about 300 cases in the United States, Prof Levin added that there have been more than 1,000 cases reported worldwide and a relatively high proportion have occurred among Black, Hispanic or South Asian persons.
He wrote, “There is a concern that children meeting current diagnostic criteria for MIS-C are the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and a bigger problem may be lurking below the waterline.”
The first study, led by Boston Children’s Hospital, found 186 cases of MIS-C in 26 U.S. states, with four out of five cases needing intensive care and one out of five requiring mechanical ventilation with four patients having died. While the second study observed patients in New York and was conducted by the state’s health department, found another 95 confirmed cases, with four out of five needing admission to intensive care unit and two patients dying. Although, it is not clear why MIS-C develops in some children and adolescents and not in others.
Source: ReutersInternational, News