Most child cases of Covid are mild. But some kids have longer-term symptoms such as headaches, shortness of breath and gastrointestinal problems. So far the main complication in children with Covid is multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C), a serious inflammatory syndrome where different body parts—including the heart and brain—can become inflamed, causing a fever, stomach pain, rash and gastrointestinal symptoms
The latest on a mysterious syndrome hitting kids—and what it means for schools.
MIS-C appears to be caused by dysregulation of the immune system, in which the body’s immune response gets out of control and harms the body itself. Doctors and scientists are trying to figure out why this happens.
MIS-C symptoms may include skin rashes, reddening of the toes...
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome is a new pediatric disease associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that is dangerous and potentially lethal. With prompt recognition and medical attention, most children will survive but the long-term outcomes from this condition are presently unknown.
As doctors learn more, they are growing increasingly convinced that the syndrome currently sickening children is not actually Kawasaki disease, but rather a separate inflammatory condition that produces similar symptoms.
The new inflammatory disease is scary but thankfully rare and easy to spot.
Despite having studied Kawasaki disease for decades, researchers still don’t know exactly what triggers it. Even before Covid-19, a working hypothesis has been that a runaway immune response — possibly combined with a genetic predisposition — brought it on. Previous research had even looked for evidence of other coronaviruses in Kawasaki patients, but overall the evidence was generally only weakly correlated.
Overproduction of the infection-fighting proteins known as cytokines generates what’s known as cytokine storm syndrome. It is the “sepsis” of coronavirus infection — the way this virus results in deadly illness. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a form of cytokine storm syndrome. To the extent that we understand Covid-19, we understand MIS-C.
Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19.
An observational study has launched to evaluate the short- and long-term health outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children, including multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), and to characterize the immunologic pathways associated with different disease presentations and outcomes.