Researchers dig into syndrome in children linked to COVID-19

Jennifer Lewke
Updated: June 30, 2020 07:24 PM
Created: June 30, 2020 06:23 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Researchers from across New York State have completed their first study into an illness that targets children, linked to COVID-19.

Dozens of cases of Pediatric Inflammatory Multi-System Syndrome popped up in New York during the height of the pandemic and over the last few weeks, the New York State Department of Health has been looking into the medical records of the children with confirmed cases.  


Dr. Stephen Cook, a pediatrician at Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, was part of the research team.  

“Most of these kids are normal they don't have underlying chronic conditions or things that made them more susceptible to this,” Dr. Cook told News10NBC.  

In fact, one of the only common denominators they found was that in about 30% of cases, the children were obese.  

“I think the one thing that people had asked me is how common is this and it's still rare… So, it’s like one in 170 kids who got or got exposed to COVID-19, so it's not like all kids who get COVID will get this,” Dr. Cook said.  

In many cases, the kids and their families didn’t even know they had COVID-19 until after they got Pediatric Inflammatory Multi-System Syndrome (MIS-C).

“A number of kids had what sounds like no symptoms of an acute COVID experience, who were exposed... lived with family members, household contacts that tested positive and then they started manifesting the symptoms [of MIS-C] pretty quick,” Dr. Cook said. 

The vast majority of kids got sick over a couple of days mostly with GI symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea that then worsened into belly pain and lack of appetite.

In 50% of the cases examined, children developed blood pressure and cardiac problems.  

The study also compared racial and ethnic information of the 99 children. Among 78 patients with data on race, 37% were white, 40% black, 5% Asian, and 18% other race; among 85 patients with data on ethnicity, 36% were Hispanic.

Study authors suggest that the higher incidence of MIS-C among black and Hispanic children may be a reflection of the well-documented elevated incidence of COVID-19 infection among black and Hispanic communities.

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