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NYC Health Department Warns Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Is Possibly Linked to Coronavirus in Children

NYC Health Department Warns Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Is Possibly Linked to Coronavirus in Children

64 cases compatible with this syndrome have been identified in children in New York hospitals. If you suspect your child has symptoms of this illness, her doctor should immediately refer you to a pediatric infectious disease specialist, and you need to report the case to the Department of Health.

UPDATED: More than 100 cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) have been identified in New York state as of May 15, and 2 more children may have died, which would bring the death toll to 5. The syndrome has been mostly seen in children, but there are reports of young adults in their 20s also getting this illness. MIS-C is characterized by

  • Prolonged fever that lasts more than 5 days 
  • Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Skin rash

    Other symptoms that are common include
  • Change in skin color—the child becomes patchy, pale, or blue
  • Difficulty feeding (for infants) or being too sick to drink fluids
  • Trouble breathing or very fast breathing
  • Racing heart or chest pain
  • Lethargy, irritability, or confusion

Cases might require children be admitted to the ICU for cardiac or respiratory support. Multi-system inflammatory syndrome is “potentially associated with Covid-19,” according to the NYC Health Department, and if your child or a child you know is showing symptoms of this illness, immediately report it to the NYC Health Department’s Provider Access Line by calling 866-692-3641 or by calling your county's health department.

New York is leading the national effort to understand this syndrome, according to Governor Cuomo. All hospitals in the state have been directed to prioritize coronavirus testing for children displaying symptoms. The state Department of Health also issued an alert to all health care facilities, clinical labs, and local health departments in the state to inform providers of the condition and provide testing and reporting guidance, according to the Daily Voice. Yahoo! News reports that the New York Genome Center and Rockefeller University will be partnering with the State Department of Health to study multi-system inflammatory syndrome and better understand how it affects children.

Early diagnosis and treatment of this syndrome is key, the NYC Health Department says, and treating Kawasaki disease is critical to prevent organ damage and other long term complications. Some children don't develop syndrome symptoms until a month after exposure to coronavirus, according to doctors at a news conference in Westchester on May 8.

Any patient who meets this criteria must be reported to the NYC Health Department through the Provider Access Line (866-692-3641), or your local New York health department:

  • The child is less than 21 years old with persistent fever lasting more than four days, and either incomplete Kawasaki disease, typical Kawasaki disease, and/or TSS  

  • No alternative causes of these symptoms 

Patients should be reported regardless of their coronavirus test result, if they are able to be tested. Your doctor is also required to report your child's symptoms to the state. For more information, visit the Department of Health website, and keep up with coronavirus news in your area so you can adapt as this situation changes. 

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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is a social journalism MA candidate at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. When she’s not reporting, you can find her petting someone else’s dog. See More

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