What you need to know about multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)

Caring For Our Kids

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Hospitals across the country are reporting an increase in multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, also known as MIS-C. The COVID-19-related illness is also on the rise in Tennessee. Dr. Ryan Redman, ER director at Children’s Hospital, answers our questions.

Have you guys seen an increase in patients with MIS-C at Children’s Hospital?

Yes, with the increase of COVID-19 cases in the community, we also saw an increase in multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children.

Since the pandemic began, the state has confirmed nine cases of MIS-C in our patients, and we are awaiting confirmation of several more cases that we believe meet the criteria for the illness. A couple of our cases were serious, requiring treatment in the PICU. But it’s still a rare condition when you think of the large number of cases of COVID-19 in the community.

What exactly is MIS-C?

It’s a complication some children develop after they have had COVID-19, which results in inflammation of different parts of the body including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain and other organs. In some cases, children with symptoms of MIS-C, never exhibited typical COVID-19 symptoms and their parents weren’t even aware they were sick.

Signs/symptoms

Be aware that not all children have all the same symptoms.

  • Fever usually lasting 24 hours or more
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Neck pain
  • Rash
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Tiredness (more than normal)

When should we bring a child to the emergency room?

Any of the symptoms mentioned should be evaluated by your child’s doctor. The following are reasons to come to the ER:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that won’t go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe abdominal pain

What don’t we know still?

The Centers for Disease Control is still learning about MIS-C and the connection with COVID-19. We still don’t know why some children have gotten sick with MIS-C and others haven’t. It is important to note that most children who have become ill with COVID-19, have recovered well from the illness.

For more information follow these links:

COVID-19 and Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)

CDC: Health Department-Reported Cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children in the U.S.

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