Some children have developed a severe inflammatory response due to COVID-19 infection that appears similar to Kawasaki disease. Doctors are referring to this response as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Although severe COVID-19 illness is less frequent in children, with about 3% of confirmed cases in the US in ages 0–17 years, it is still significant. Further research into MIS-C could provide insights on how COVID-19 affects the immune system and how it can be treated, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
As our understanding of COVID-19 grows, and as patients continue to recover, more additional long-term complications and rare effects on various demographics could emerge. As a result, it will be a while before we gain a full understanding of the medical impacts of this disease. This pediatric syndrome has been tied to the COVID-19 because most cases either tested positive at the time their symptoms developed or had a positive antibody test. While this new syndrome has similarities to Kawasaki disease, an observational study from Italy and a review of cases in New York City, US has highlighted differences between the two diseases.”
Ana Fernandez Menjivar, MSc DLSHTM, Senior Epidemiologist at GlobalData
Kawasaki disease can have long-term cardiovascular complications. Future longitudinal studies will have to be conducted to determine if MIS-C patients will have similar issues.
To date, there have been 157 suspected cases of pediatric MIS-C reported in New York State, and approximately 230 combined suspected cases in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland, among others.
Even though a small proportion of confirmed cases of COVID-19 occur in the population under the age of 18 years and pediatric MIS-C appears to be a rare complication, studies such as the one carried out in Italy can provide valuable insight. Observational studies can shed light on the immune response that COVID-19 triggers in children and promote data collection efforts, which can lead to a better understanding of how the virus works and possible treatment options.”
Ana Fernandez Menjivar