Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and COVID-19

Reviewed on 11/5/2021
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) and COVID-19
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) has been found mostly in children infected with COVID-19 or who were in contact with other infected people.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a condition of widespread inflammation in various tissues and organ systems throughout the body of children.

This inflammatory syndrome can affect the:

Although the exact cause of MIS-C is not known, it has been found that most children affected with this condition either had COVID-19 infection or were in contact with people who had COVID-19

A common notion is that COVID-19 causes less severe symptoms in children compared to older individuals.

  • MIS-C is a rare but serious condition that can interfere with organ function, leading to shock, organ failure, and even death.
  • Most of the affected children, however, have improved with appropriate medical care. 
  • Some children, such as those with heart conditions or severe inflammation due to MIS-C, may require long-term follow-up and care.

The outlook of MIS-C varies between children. Why some children exposed to COVID-19 develop MIS-C, whereas others do not is not well understood.

Definitive risk factors for MIS-C following COVID-19 infection have also not been identified yet. Hence, prevention is the best strategy.

MIS-C can be avoided by following COVID-19 preventive strategies, such as frequent handwashing, wearing proper masks in public places, social distancing, practicing respiratory hygiene, and getting vaccinated against COVID-19.

What are the symptoms of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)?

The symptoms of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) include:

Because MIS-C affects various organs and tissues in the body, the signs and symptoms may vary with children.

If your child has any of the mentioned symptoms or any other concerning symptoms, you must seek medical help right away.

How long after COVID-19 does multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) occur?

The symptoms of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) usually appear two to six weeks after COVID-19 infection.

Most children diagnosed with MIS-C have antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

How is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) diagnosed?

A doctor diagnoses multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) based on detailed medical history, physical examination, and certain medical investigations.

The doctor will order certain tests to exclude other similar conditions (such as toxic shock syndrome and Kawasaki disease), including:

How is multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) treated?

Children who get ill with the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) require hospitalization. Seriously ill children may need to be admitted to a pediatric intensive care unit.

Doctors give medications (including intravenous immunoglobulins, steroids, and other anti-inflammatory medications), oxygen support, and intravenous fluids to manage symptoms and relieve inflammation.

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References
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For Parents: Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. https://www.cdc.gov/mis/mis-c.html

Son MBF, Friedman K. COVID-19: Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) management and outcome. UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/covid-19-multisystem-inflammatory-syndrome-in-children-mis-c-management-and-outcome

Sick-Samuels AC. MIS-C and COVID-19: Rare Inflammatory Syndrome in Kids and Teens. The Johns Hopkins University. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/coronavirus/misc-and-covid19-rare-inflammatory-syndrome-in-kids-and-teens

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