Officials warn of rare COVID-19 syndrome affecting Alabama children

Published 7:07 am Sunday, March 7, 2021

More than 80 suspected cases of a rare condition linked to COVID-19, has prompted Alabama health officials to issue a warning to parents to be on the lookout for symptoms.

Since April 1, 2020, doctors at ChildreMISn’s of Alabama have seen more than 80 suspected cases of Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).

MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C.

Although, the Alabama Department of Public Health reports 29 confirmed cases, but Children’s of Alabama infectious disease expert Dr. David Kimberlin said the state is reviewing all suspected cases.

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

Kimberlin 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.

He said the syndrome seems to more common in older children — in preteens and teens — than in children younger than 10-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.