1 La. death, 13 cases of illness in kids possibly linked to COVID-19
BATON ROUGE- Medical experts are now on alert for a new syndrome found in children that may be caused by the coronavirus.
Health officials say Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a condition that inflames different areas of the body, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs.
“It’s a little bit better defined now,” Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Doctor Shuan Kemmerly said.
The cause of MIS-C is unknown, however, many children with the condition had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been exposed to someone with the disease.
“We really don’t know a cause or etiology for this syndrome. It’s unknown. It’s so new. We’re still trying to understand it,” Kemmerly said.
In Louisiana, 13 cases and one death of a young person have been reported as a result of the inflammatory syndrome.
“If your child is exhibiting fever, persistent fever, if your child has severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, eye findings where the whites of the eyes turn red or look bloodshot, neck swelling or pain in the neck, those are all symptoms – call your doctor, go to your pediatrician and get evaluated. If your child is having severe chest pain, difficulty breathing, severe abdominal pain, come to the emergency room, we want to see you in the ER at that point,” Kemmerly said.
The Louisiana Department of Health has not released additional information about the death to respect the privacy of the young person and their family.
“Our healthcare community is very alert and attuned to finding these children. We’re seeking out these symptoms in kids. So rest assure that we’re on high alert to manage these children,” Kemmerly said.
The CDC defines a case of MIS-C when:
- The patient is under the age of 21, with a fever, laboratory evidence of inflammation, and severe illness involving more than two organs that requires hospitalization; AND
- No other plausible diagnoses; AND
- Positive COVID-19 test, or exposure to a confirmed case, within the four weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.
Among the 13 cases in Louisiana:
- The age range is 0-19 years old.
- The median age is 11 years old.
- 6 of the patients are female and 7 are male.
- 4 are currently hospitalized and 8 have been discharged.
- In terms of race, 7 are African American, 3 are white and 3 fit in the other category.
- In terms of ethnicity, 2 are Hispanic and 11 are non-Hispanic.
LDH will update information on MIS-C each Monday on the LDH's coronavirus webpage.
Providers who have cared for or who are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should immediately report the cases to the Louisiana Office of Public Health Infectious Disease Epidemiology Team. You can do so by clicking here.
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