Third case of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome reported in Central Virginia

Updated: Oct. 2, 2020 at 10:52 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A rare disease linked to coronavirus is having a serious impact on children. It’s called Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, also known as MIS-C.

Multiple cases have popped up in Virginia, causing children to be rushed to emergency rooms in Richmond. Health officials in the Buckingham County area just confirmed the third case in the state.

Several states are dealing with multiple cases. Children are getting severely ill and since coronavirus can be fatal, doctors say this is something parents have to take seriously.

“This is not a mild case of a tummy ache one night, and feel better the next day,” Dr. Bart Rountree with Bon Secours and Executive Medical Director for Pediatrics with the health group’s Richmond division. “It’s a striking presentation. The kids are very, very ill when they come in.”

MIS-C is a strain of the coronavirus that’s growing in children. All over the nation, young people are being rushed to emergency rooms to fight it. Dr. Rountree knows of at least three cases in Central Virginia involving children between the ages of 5 and 10, with one case just confirmed Friday from health officials in the Buckingham County area.

“It’s basically a process where the inflammatory system gets out of whack…Multiple organ systems start to become involved including the cardiac system, the heart, the lungs, the GI tract,” Rountree explains.

First, a child may experience typical coronavirus symptoms - loss of taste or smell, a small cough, or flu-like illness. When MIS-C hits, those symptoms get worse to include trouble breathing.

“This is not something that’s subtle. The kids look ill. They have high fevers,” he said. The good news is this. “Our emergency rooms are all equipped to handle this.”

So how do you avoid it? Doctors say the same way everyone works to fight getting the virus in the first place.

“Masks, hand washing. The same stuff we’ve been saying all along. Maintaining that good social distancing,” Rountree advised.

Other symptoms to look for in kids are extreme fatigue, red eyes or an irregular heart rate. Area hospitals are using a treatment that’s helping kids get through this. Dr. Rountree says the three children that came down with this strain are doing better.

MIS-C, previously called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, is a new health condition associated with COVID-19. The first reports of this syndrome came from the United Kingdom in late April. U.S. cases were first reported in New York City in early May.

MIS-C may cause problems with a child’s heart and other organs.

Most children with MIS-C have fever lasting several days and may show symptoms of:

  • Irritability or decreased activity
  • Abdominal pain without another explanation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Rash
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Lack of appetite
  • Red or cracked lips
  • Red or bumpy tongue
  • Swollen hands and feet

Not all children with MIS-C have the same symptoms.

Call your doctor immediately if your child becomes ill and has a continued fever or any of these symptoms.

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