As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increase, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) has identified 15 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a condition that is affecting a number of children under 21 years of age across the country who may have been exposed to COVID-19 or had COVID-19.
In L.A. County, children with MIS-C had a median age of 8 years, 7 months old. Forty percent of these cases were between ages of 0 and 5 years old, 40% were between the ages of 6 and 12 years old, and 20% were between the ages of 13 and 20 years old. The majority of cases (73%) were Latino/Latinx. Nationwide, the majority of MIS-C patients have been Hispanic/Latino or Non-Hispanic Black, two populations that are also disproportionately affected by COVID-19 overall. No reported cases have died.
According to the CDC, MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children have gotten better with medical care. MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and exhaustion. Parents should seek emergency care immediately if their child is experiencing: trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, severe abdominal pain.
The best way to protect your child is by taking everyday actions to prevent your child and household from getting the virus that causes COVID-19. “CDC is still learning about MIS-C and how it affects children, so we don’t know why some children have gotten sick with MIS-C and others have not. We also do not know if children with certain health conditions are more likely to get MIS-C. These are among the many questions CDC is working to try to understand,” the agency wrote on their website.
Public Health is advising physicians to consider for MIS-C in patient children younger than 21 years old who present with the clinical presentation and to notify the department immediately of any cases.