At least seven children in Wisconsin have been affected by a rare but serious inflammatory condition that experts think is likely linked to the novel coronavirus.
Children’s Wisconsin in Milwaukee reported seven suspected cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) to the Wisconsin Department of Health Service in late May, hospital officials said online. Five of the children have recovered while two remain in the hospital, according to local news station WISN.
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The suspected cases are the first to be reported in the Badger State, according to local reports.
MIS-C is an inflammatory condition that is similar to Kawasaki disease, which causes swelling in arteries throughout the body. However, the two are not the same, and MIS-C has largely been reported in children who have been infected with or exposed to COVID-19.
“In most of these cases, these patients tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies (as opposed to testing positive for the actual virus). That means the child doesn’t currently have COVID-19 but did some weeks or months earlier and their body’s immune system fought it off,” according to Children’s Wisconsin. “In other words, MIS-C is not being caused by an active infection. Rather, it’s the result of their body’s immune response. For some reason, their immune systems are having this general inflammatory response weeks later.”
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“While the prevalence of MIS-C in kids with exposure to COVID-19 indicates some potential link, the exact correlation or causation is still being investigated,” the hospital added.
MIS-C typically causes inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. MIS-C can also cause persistent fever, rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea, among other symptoms such as a red tongue and eyes.
Dr. Jacqueline Szmuszkovicz, a pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, recently said that children who have a fever that lasts for four or more days should seek medical attention.
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“Certainly, if they see any of the other signs — the rash, the red tongue, red eyes — we encourage them to seek care,” she told The Los Angeles Times.
More cases of the Kawasaki disease-like inflammatory condition are likely to pop up in children across the nation as the virus continues to spread, experts have warned. The increasing number of cases even prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to recently issue an advisory regarding MIS-C.