South Carolina reports first cases of coronavirus-related pediatric inflammatory syndrome

Coronavirus-related pediatric inflammatory syndrome, also known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C, is a rare inflammatory condition that affects children and adolescents and is tied to exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Over the past months, clusters of MIS-C cases have been reported in Europe and the United States. Now, two South Carolina children were diagnosed as the first cases of the coronavirus-related pediatric inflammatory syndrome, a condition where many body parts can become inflamed, including the lungs, heart, kidneys, skin, brain, eyes, and gastrointestinal organs.

The children are both below ten years old, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) reports. One patient is from the Midlands region in central South Carolina, while the other lives in the Pee Dee region in the northeastern part of the state.

"We continue to see more and more young people, especially those under 20, contracting and spreading COVID-19, and we know MIS-C is a threat to our youngest South Carolinians. MIS-C is a serious health complication linked to COVID-19 and is all the more reason why we must stop the spread of this virus," State Epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell said in a news release.

In the Palmetto state, there were more than 56,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19 since March. On July 12, there were 2,239 cases reported with one child dying from the viral infection.

What is Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)?

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare systemic inflammatory illness that affects children and adolescents. It is associated with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has so far infected more than 12.87 million people and killed at least 568,000 people.

The first cases of the condition were reported in the United Kingdom and Europe and were termed as pediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome temporally associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (PIMS-TS). In the United States, the condition is called MIS-C, while the World Health Organization (WHO) calls the condition as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS).

The condition is similar to Kawasaki disease, which is a rare condition affecting children who are below 5 years old. Kawasaki disease is a condition that causes glandular swelling, rash, red eyes, red fingers and toes, and damage to the heart.

Children who develop MIS-C develop symptoms such as fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, neck pain, bloodshot eyes, rash, and fatigue, among others. The exact cause and mechanism of MIS-C are still unclear, but many children with the condition had been exposed to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The emergency warning signs of MIS-C include trouble breathing, chest pain, or pressure that does not go away, inability to wake or stay awake, confusion, severe abdominal pain, and bluish lips or face.

The first reports of this syndrome came from the United Kingdom in late April, while the first cases in the United States were first reported in New York City in early May.  

MIS-C complications

Scientists are still learning trying to understand the syndrome and determine why some children experience it and others do not.

Two studies from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) show that MIS-C is tied to severe complications and can be potentially lethal.

For instance, the studies show that 80 percent of patients with MIS-C were admitted to intensive care. Though most recovered, four children succumbed to the complication. Further, 20 percent of the children received mechanical ventilation, and 48 percent received vasoactive support. About 15 patients had coronary artery aneurysms, while 74 patients had Kawasaki's disease-like features.

"We report the emergence of a life-threatening hyperinflammatory syndrome across the United States that involves damage to multiple organ systems in predominantly previously healthy children and adolescents during the Covid-19 pandemic," the researchers wrote in one paper.

Coronavirus global toll

The number of coronavirus cases across the globe has surpassed 12.87 million, while the United States has reported the highest number of confirmed cases, exceeding 3.30 million. The death toll in the country has topped 135,000.

Brazil has reported skyrocketing cases, with more than 1.86 million people infected and a death toll of more than 72,000. India and Russia follow with more than 849,000 and 726,000 cases, respectively.

Peru, Chile, and Mexico confirm more than 326,000, 315,000, and 299,000 cases, respectively. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom has more than 291,000 cases, while South Africa follows with more than 276,000 cases.

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Written by

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo

Angela is a nurse by profession and a writer by heart. She graduated with honors (Cum Laude) for her Bachelor of Nursing degree at the University of Baguio, Philippines. She is currently completing her Master's Degree where she specialized in Maternal and Child Nursing and worked as a clinical instructor and educator in the School of Nursing at the University of Baguio.


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