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Utah Child Shows Signs Of Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah  – One child in Utah currently fits all of the criteria for a rare syndrome related to COVID-19 that has sickened about 200 kids in Europe and the United States.

Doctors are investigating several other potential cases in Utah as they learn more about this new syndrome called pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome. Doctors are now calling it MIS-C.

One Utah patient has been admitted to the ICU. It is rare but doctors want parents to be aware.

“It’s a very new syndrome. So, we’re learning a lot as we go,” said Dr. Andrew Pavia, Pediatric Infectious Disease, University of Utah Health and Primary Children’s Hospital.

Reports of MIS-C first came from Great Britain in early April.

Then, early this month, MIS-C was found in New York State where there are now about 140 cases, with other cases reported in three dozen states.

Researchers do not know the true number of cases, overall.

“We have not seen a large number of these patients here in Utah, thankfully,” said Dr. Jill Sweeney, Pediatric Critical Care, University of Utah Health and Primary Children’s Hospital.

Doctors with the University of Utah and Primary Children’s Hospital want parents to be on alert for the severe symptoms that accompany the syndrome.

“If your child has a prolonged fever, and severe abdominal pains, with or without a rash, or red eyes, you need to contact your healthcare provider,” said Dr. Pavia.

The average age of patients with MIS-C are 7 to 8 years old. Cases range from infants to 20 years old.

“So, we are getting a pretty good understanding of what this syndrome looks like,” said Dr. Pavia. “But, we don’t yet know the entire spectrum of the disease.”

Cases of MIS-C seem to peak about a month after the peak in COVID-19 cases, he said.

In children, he said, the disease seems to follow a substantial time after the actual infection, and appears to occur in the recovery phase.

“There have been a few deaths around the world so far. But the majority of children have recovered well,” said dr. Pavia. “We don’t know what the long-term consequences, if any, are going to be.”

Social distancing, wearing masks, and hand washing will limit the spread of this syndrome.

“If we don’t control the spread of infection, or if we accept a high rate of infection throughout the community, then eventually we will see more cases,” Dr. Pavia said.

Right now, they do not know why it affects children and not adults.

Primary Children’s Hospital is participating in ongoing research as doctors here in Utah continue to learn more about this syndrome.

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