New syndrome appearing in children likely linked to COVID-19

Updated: May 07, 2020 09:54 AM
Created: May 06, 2020 04:49 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Hospitals across the State of New York are on alert for a new syndrome appearing in children related to COVID-19.

More than 60 kids in the New York City area have been rushed to the hospital after becoming ill. They’ve all either tested positive for COVID-19 or have the antibodies for it, meaning they’ve had the virus.  

So far, there is one child who appears to have pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome in ICU at UR Medicine's Golisano Children's Hospital, as well as several hospitals in the New York City area that are treating young children, mostly between the ages of 2-15 for the syndrome.

Doctors believe that COVID-19 may be triggering an overreaction of the immune system in some children who contract it.  

“What's been reported most often is abdominal pain, diarrhea and then shock which is low blood pressure, lethargy and weakness…Some of them (impacted children) have rashes but not all of them, some of them have increased lymph node glands but not all of them,” Dr. Geoffrey Weinberg a Pediatric Infectious Disease professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said.  

The syndrome was first detected in Europe last month. In addition to the impacted children in New York, a handful of other states have reported cases as well.  It’s hard for doctors to know how susceptible children are to it after exposure to COVID-19 because there really hasn’t been enough testing for the virus.  

“We haven't had these such cases but we are on the lookout, The New York State Department of the Health has asked the entire state to report cases immediately,” Dr. Weinberg said.  

On Wednesday, the New York State Health Commissioner put out a health advisory to inform healthcare providers of the condition and provide guidance for testing and reporting. Healthcare providers, including hospitals, are now required to report all cases of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome potentially associated with COVID-19 in those under 21 years of age.

“I think it's scary, I'm a parent myself and I think it's very scary but I think it's not something that we're just thinking oh my gosh, they're going to be gone tomorrow. I think if they have symptoms enough, you'd be concerned enough to bring them in,” Dr. Weinberg said.

Most children who’ve developed pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome are recovering with the proper ICU care and medication. 

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