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Doctors are learning about COVID-19 related syndrome affecting children

Posted at 9:13 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 00:30:21-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Doctors are seeing an increase in a rare but serious condition associated with COVID-19 that affects children. Now, they're warning parents about the signs of this dangerous illness.

It's called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, known as MIS-C. Doctors don't know much about the condition, including what causes it.

They do know however that children of all ages can test positive for the novel coronavirus. Most don't become as ill as older people, and some may not even show symptoms at all.

Now doctors across the state are seeing an increase in children affected by the inflammatory syndrome.

"We know the kids with this syndrome may or may not have even known that they had coronavirus in the first place," said Dr. Keith Jensen. "They may have been some of these asymptomatic carriers that never got tested."

Jensen is the regional medical director of pediatric emergency medicine for HCA Gulf Coast Division, which includes emergency rooms at Bay Area Medical Center and Doctor's Regional Hospital.

He said doctors are learning that many kids who have MIS-C test positive for coronavirus antibodies.

"There are a lot of questions that we have that we're still trying to figure out as a medical community, like is there something that makes some patients more likely to get this syndrome as opposed to others?"

MIS-C inflames parts of a child's body like their heart, kidneys and skin. Sometimes it can be painful, with other symptoms including a fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes, red eyes, fatigue, and stomach pain.

With proper medical care, most children recover, but serious cases can put a child's life at risk and send them to the ICU.

However, as a parent, Jensen said it's important to watch out for signs of the disease, and don't be afraid to take your child to the doctor's office or emergency room if you think something's wrong.