“We are at a critical time because the overall number of cases of COVID are increasing so much,” said Dr. Jackie Szmuszkovicz, pediatric cardiologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “We are seeing more children with MIS-C the last few weeks following that big increase (of cases) in the community.”
MIS-C, or Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, is the name of a new inflammatory syndrome that afflicts a small number of kids three to six weeks after they experienced coronavirus, even if they had mild or no symptoms at all.
Dr. Behnoosh Afghani, a pediatric infectious disease expert at UCI Health in Orange County, hopes that the spread of the vaccine will start to decrease the number of infections in adults and therefore also contribute to fewer infections among children. While children under 16 cannot be vaccinated, if more adults around them are vaccinated it will increase protection for children, she said.
MIS-C, the rare inflammatory syndrome, was discovered last year in children who had previously had coronavirus. Originally it was thought to be Kawasaki disease, a post-infection syndrome that afflicts young children, but physicians connected the new syndrome to COVID-19. It is marked by overwhelming inflammation in the body that sometimes impacts major organs and can lead to heart failure. Children develop a fever, some have abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea, rash, are severely fatigued and have red eyes.
Statewide, Latino kids account for 64% of COVID-19 cases among kids under 18 where race and ethnicity is known, but make up only 48% of the state’s children, according to the state Department of Public Health.
Nationally, racial and ethnic trend lines among children are also mirroring adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of children in the U.S. who have been diagnosed with the infection and the inflammatory syndrome have been Latino or Black.
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