Katherine Dunn noticed her thirteen-year-old son, Nolan had come down with a fever. The doctors advised her not to worry as it was “just a virus”. When he was tested for Covid-19, the results showed negative twice and he did not have a sore throat or a cough.
MIS-C: The Covid-19 Illness Affecting Children
However, when his fever climbed to an alarming 104.4°, Katherine Dunn began to worry. “Some people’s children spike those types of fevers, my kids never do,” said Dunn. When Dunn talked about the situation with her father, he reminded her of cases showing a new illness called the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
This illness bears several resemblances to the Kawasaki disease, a rare disease seen in children. The symptoms include high fevers, rashes, peeling skin, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. The Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children similar but doctors is still not sure what causes it. Some children have Covid-19 first before they get the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children but this is not always the case.
The Covid-19 virus doesn’t often have a severe effect on children but in the case of the MIS-C, several serious cases have arisen. Despite this new illness being considered as rare, doctors have reported several cases across the country.
On Friday, the CDC or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 2,617 cases and 33 children died before the beginning of March. When Dunn, researched online what the MIS-C symptoms and effects were she found many of her son’s symptoms matched.
The symptoms that MIS-C is characterized by are fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or extra tiredness. The CDC advises parents and guardians to consult a doctor immediately if children show any of the above symptoms.
Dunn took her son to visit their pediatrician. By the time they reached the office, Nolan reportedly had chapped lips, a swollen tongue, his stomach hurt and his eyes were bloodshot. The pediatrician immediately advised that Dunn admit her son to the nearest Children’s Hospital in Chicago.
Nolan Dunn reported that he seemed to have every single symptom possible. He had to be hooked up to an IV. He stated that he felt sore and was fatigued. Doctors diagnosed him with MIS-C and began treatment by administering a 10-hour immunoglobulin drip as well as a steroid. He was found to be feeling much better by the next morning.
Officials have reported a majority of cases to be seen in children between the ages of 1 to 14 years. 59% of the cases are seen in males. According to the latest report by the CDC, 66% of the cases are seen in Latino and non-Hispanic Black populations.
The Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children cases seems to be in coordination with a rise in Covid 19 cases. According to Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, chief of the Division of Pediatric Diseases at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, “January, we just saw a huge number. We saw one a day. And then in February, we were on track for that or even more, there are some days we’re having two and three cases.”
DeBiasi believes that the jump in cases was not due to variants of the disease. Rather he believes that a surge in MIS-C cases follows a surge in Coronavirus cases. The officials seem to think that since the illness is so rare and is comparatively new, parents and even pediatricians away not have known what it was.
Doctors are concerned about the long-term effects of the illness. According to Dr. Grant Schulert, a pediatric rheumatologist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, “ Most of our children are recovering pretty well, but we don’t know whether this is going to have long-term effects, particularly on the heart. That’s what we’re most concerned about and most want to understand”.