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Doctors Learning About Severe Condition That Affects Some Children After COVID-19

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Doctors from Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital released an update Monday on trends in some children who had COVID-19, were asymptomatic and now have Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome or MIS-C.

Doctors said while it is fortunate children typically have a mild case of COVID-19, a portion of them go on to develop MIS-C, a “condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal organs,” according to the Centers for Disease Control. “Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes or feeling extra tired.”

Madilyn Dayton is among the nearly 20 children diagnosed with the illness by Primary Children’s Hospital. The 12-year old’s mother, Marilyn Dayton, said her daughter has never had any health problems.

But at the end of October, she suddenly fell ill. Doctors said she nearly died.

“I woke up and I had a really bad headache and just body aches all over,” Madilyn Dayton said.

That was just the beginning, fast forward two to three days and symptoms only worsened.

“I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t eat, and then I started getting rashes all over my body — and that’s when I knew it wasn’t normal sickness, and then I woke up and I couldn’t move at all,” Dayton said.

Marilyn Dayton immediately put her daughter in the car and drove three hours from their southwest Wyoming home to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Madilyn Dayton woke up in the ICU, diagnosed with MIS-C.

“I was shocked when they came in and told me she had the COVID antibodies,” her mother said. “She was not an acute case and that is where I got stumped. I didn’t understand — I thought I was taking precautions.”

Dayton was asymptomatic and no one in her family had tested positive for the virus, which is why doctors are warning parents that COVID-19 infections in children should be taken seriously. While MIS-C can affect almost any organ, it primarily impacts the heart or the cardiovascular system.

“What we know about MIS-C is there is approximately a four-week delay between acute infection and the onset of MIS-C. We anticipate in the coming weeks we will definitely more than double,” said Dr. Jason Lake, pediatric infectious disease specialist.

Now learning from home and unable to participate in sports, the biggest concern for Dayton and her family is that people will not take the disease seriously enough.

“We just need to care, even if we aren’t in that high-risk category. How can we care to concur COVID?” said Marilyn Dayton.

Currently, doctors at Primary Children’s Hospital have treated 17 patients with MIS-C.

The first case was diagnosed at the end of April. But with Thanksgiving just around the corner, doctors were worried about super spreader events.

Over 1,000 cases of MIS-C have been reported in the U.S., and 20 children have died. CDC officials said “98% of cases (1,145) tested positive for SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The remaining 2% were around someone with COVID-19.”

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