• 80% of kids with MIS-C developed heart complications
  • 46 children have died of MIS-C in the United States
  • MIS-C can be treated with therapies used to treat Kawasaki disease

More than 5,000 children diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States have developed a rare but life-threatening symptom, leading scientists to search for the cause of the mysterious COVID-related inflammation. 

Since the start of the pandemic, at least 5,217 children who have tested positive for COVID-19 have developed the multisystem inflammatory syndrome or MIS-C. The COVID-related symptom causes an inflammation of a person’s body parts, which may include the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin or eyes. 

Symptoms of the condition include ongoing fever along with stomach pain, bloodshot eyes, diarrhea, dizziness, skin rash or vomiting, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Of the total number of children with MIS-C, 80% or 4,160 kids have been admitted to intensive care units and 20% or 1,040 required mechanical ventilation. As of Thursday, 0.8% or 46 children have died of MIS-C, according to data from the CDC.

The causes of MIS-C remain unknown. However, officials have observed that many young children who were diagnosed with MIS-C recently were also infected with COVID-19 or had previously been exposed to someone with the novel coronavirus. Scientists are now working to identify how MIS-C is linked to COVID-19 infections.

Some researchers noted that rates of the rare symptoms surged in communities with higher COVID-19 rates. Others believe genetics could be driving increased rates of MIS-C, citing the higher number of reports among racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., France and the U.K., according to NBC News.

Health experts noted that while most children who developed MIS-C had been healthy, 80% later developed heart complications. Some also developed heart rhythm abnormalities or aneurysms, research published by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute showed.

MIS-C can be treated using therapies used to treat Kawasaki disease, a pediatric syndrome that causes swelling or inflammation of medium-sized arteries throughout a person’s body.

Health experts are now urging parents to get their children vaccinated. As of Thursday, only people aged 12 and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine. However, President Joe Biden's administration is preparing to roll-out the vaccine developed by Pfizer-BioNTech for children aged 5 to 11 once it receives emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC.

Southern Chinese cities closed schools and ordered testing for millions in a race to curb a new Covid-19 outbreak Southern Chinese cities closed schools and ordered testing for millions in a race to curb a new Covid-19 outbreak Photo: CNS / -