Three Colorado children potentially have inflammatory illness; appears to be related to COVID-19

Governor, health officials address MIS-C
Three Colorado children potentially have inflammatory illness; appears to be related to COVID-19
Posted at 12:06 AM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 07:54:22-04

EL PASO COUNTY — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an alert about a rare, inflammatory illness being seen in children across the country called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). The CDC is still not sure what is responsible for MIS-C, but many children who contract it had the virus that causes COVID-19. Gov. Jared Polis said Wednesday there are three potential cases of MIS-C now in Colorado.

Children's Hospital Colorado is one of the leading research institutions for MIS-C in the entire country. Doctors have been studying similar illnesses there for decades now and said they are prepared to treat any MIS-C patients they may get.

At the press conference Wednesday, Polis said MIS-C is rare, but it does have a correlation to people who have just gotten over COVID-19. "While the syndrome is seldom fatal, it often requires clinical intervention and it can cause lasting heart damage as well," Polis said.

Symptoms of MIS-C include:

  • Prolonged fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

It's also important to note some patients present with a rash, red eyes, or puffiness of the hands and feet.

MIS-C seems to show up after a patient has recovered from coronavirus. "With most cases presenting about four weeks after exposure to the virus, this suggests that what we are seeing in these children is likely a post-infectious or inflammatory response to the virus, as opposed to direct ongoing damage from the virus itself," said Dr. Samuel Dominguez of Children's Hospital.

As of Wednesday, Children's Hospital said there have been just over 100 cases reported throughout the country, with the majority in New York.

The three potential cases found in Colorado have been reported to the CDC for further review. "We have seen it in individuals up to age 20, and it often affects teenagers," said the Colorado State Epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy.

MIS-C has been compared to Kawasaki Disease, because certain symptoms overlap between the two. However, in MIS-C, patients present much sicker and have difficulty keeping their blood pressure up, so they might need ICU care and medicine to control their blood pressure. Another key difference between Kawasaki Disease and MIS-C are the age ranges they affect. Kawasaki Disease is mostly seen in children less than 5 years old, and MIS-C has primarily occurred in children ages 5 to 15.

News5 spoke with a parent of a child who has Kawasaki Disease, who said he hopes MIS-C will help raise awareness about Kawasaki Disease.

"We need all the attention we can get on this. And it is huge for us, we have been jumped into the forefront of this whole thing, and we are so excited to tell our story of all these kids that are survivors around the United States. What triggers MIS-C, and what triggers Kawasaki Disease? And if we can get research to figure out if there's a correlation there, I think that will be exciting," said Shawn Logan, the founder and executive director of Kawasaki Kids.

Those with Children's Hospital said to call your primary care physician if you notice any of these symptoms in your child. They said a pediatrician's office, or the hospital, are still safe places to be during this pandemic.

When asked if MIS-C could impact daycare or school plans in the fall, Polis said they do not know enough about MIS-C to make a call on that right now. He did reiterate that people over 65 are those most at risk from coronavirus complications.