A rare but severe health condition in Covid positive children has become a cause of concern for Kerala.The multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), or paediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PIMS), is the mysterious disease being reported in the state. Though the health department has not revealed its exact number of cases, sources said the disease was reported in a couple of children. They were treated at SAT Hospital and have recovered. From what has been observed, MIS-C affects children two to four weeks after the onset of Covid-19.
“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, such cases are being reported in children around the world. In India, similar cases were reported from places like Mumbai and Chennai. Kerala had to deal with only a minuscule number of cases so far,” said a health department officer. The officer said the disease is rare and most of the affected children get better with medical care. “However, in some cases, their health may worsen to the point where their lives are at risk,” said the officer.
Said Dr Balachandar D of Indian Academy of Pediatrics, Kerala, “MIS-C is a condition in which some parts of the body, such as the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes, become inflamed. It shares some of the signs and symptoms as another condition, the Kawasaki disease (KD).”
He said as per the literature available on the subject, many, but not all, children with MIS-C test negative for a current infection of Covid-19. Yet, evidence indicates that many of these children were infected with the Covid-causing SARS-CoV-2 virus in the past, as shown by their positive antibody test results.
Dr Balachandar D said the sign that parents can look for in their child is gastrointestinal symptoms. “Also, if a child has fever for 24 hours or more, vomiting, skin rash, red eyes, abdominal pain, redness or swelling of the hands or feet or is unusually tired, immediate medical attention should be sought,” he said.
A study published by medical journal The Lancet on Friday highlighted that MIS-C is a new paediatric disease associated with Covid-19. It said though the long-term outcomes from MIS-C are unknown, most children can be saved with prompt recognition and medical attention. The illness had found a mention in the new Covid-19 Treatment Guideline released in August. It is said though MIS-C has many similarities to KD, the median age of presentation for the former is higher at 10 years. KD affects children aged below five.