Children in Alabama getting rare syndrome linked to COVID-19

What doctors are learning about rare COVID syndrome affecting kids
What doctors are learning about rare COVID syndrome affecting kids(WBRC)
Published: Mar. 6, 2021 at 2:28 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A serious syndrome linked to COVID-19 is impacting an increasing number of children across the state.

Since April 1st, 2020, doctors at Children’s of Alabama have seen more than 80 suspected cases of MIS-C. The Alabama Department of Public Health reports 29 confirmed cases, but Dr. David Kimberlin said the state is reviewing all suspected cases.

It’s a rare and dangerous syndrome, but doctors are warning that it’s something for parents to look out for.

“MIS-C is specifically linked to COVID,” Children’s of Alabama infectious disease expert Dr. David Kimberlin said. “Children start coming in with these hyper inflammatory conditions and they can be really sick. They can have really low blood pressures and need to go to the ICU.”

Kimberlin said many MIS-C cases come in around three weeks after a COVID surge. He said children with it have inflammation all throughout their bodies

“This is a lot of inflammation going on and it can hurt their lungs,” he said. “It can hurt their hearts.”

Kimberlin said it is common for patients to not know they had COVID-19 before experiencing MIS-C symptoms because of COVID-19′s ability to be asymptomatic.

He said the main symptoms to look out for are persistent fever for three or more days, skin rash, and abdominal pain. Kimberlin said MIS-C symptoms share similarities with other common conditions, so it can be difficult to notice.

“Mostly it is that feeling a parent has ‘my child is more sick then I’m used to seeing and it worries me’,” He said. “So, if it worries you the parent, then it is going to worry the doctor as well.”

He said the syndrome seems to more common in older children so far.

“Not as likely to be a two-year-old, three-year-old, or four-year-old,” he said. “It’s more a 10-year-old, a 12-year-old, a 15-year-old.”

Kimberlin said since the syndrome is rare and linked to COVID-19, researchers are still gathering data on the long-term effects. But, he said in many cases it can be managed at the hospital.

“Other people’s antibodies that have been pooled together and you give that as a treatment,” Kimberlin said. In more severe cases, Kimberlin said they also use steroids’.

“A few children have really bad outcomes, but most bounce back and they bounce back relatively quickly.”

Dr. Kimberlin said the best way to combat MIS-C is to vaccinate as many people as possible, until children and teenagers are able to get the shot.

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