COVID-19 linked to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in kids

May 11, 2020

Past studies have shown COVID-19 to be milder in children. However, there have been a growing number of children in New York City and Long Island in New York who have developed a multisystem inflammatory syndrome as a result of the disease.

The New England Journal of Medicineround-up of the latest developments on COVID-19 included a new wrinkle for pediatric cases. Past studies have shown the disease to be milder in children. However, there have been at least 120 children in New York City and Long Island in New York who have developed a multisystem inflammatory syndrome. The cases were found about a month following the surge of the disease in the area. Most of the cases tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, or antibodies for the virus.

Symptoms of the syndrome include persistent fever and ones like Kawasaki disease or toxic shock. Many of the cases were taken care of in intensive care where the children were given cardiac and respiratory care. None of the children with the syndrome had died at the time of the round-up, but Governor Andrew Cuomo has since tweeted that 3 may have died from it. Cases have been found in other areas of the United States and United Kingdom public health officials say that doctors and other clinicians should be mindful of this syndrome when treating cases.

Contemporary Pediatrics editor-in-chief Tina Q. Tan, MD, FAAP, FIDSA, FPDIS, said of the new complication, "the pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome is very interesting. Initially people thought that children were not very affected by COVID-19 and that they had only asymptomatic or mild disease, however, the appearance of this syndrome demonstrates that this virus may affect some children in a severe way. Pediatric clinicians need to be aware of the possibility that children infected with COVID-19 may develop a multi-system inflammatory process that has some features of toxic shock, sepsis, or Kawasaki shock syndrome."

Editor's Note: Case count has been updated and is current as of May 15, 2020.