Rare condition in children could be linked to COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - More details are being released about a new and rare disease found in children.

Doctors believe it could be connected to COVID-19. It's called Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome.

"It appears to be an autoimmune phenomenon that occurs following a COVID infection, that's our best understanding," said Dr. Rudolph Valentini, Cheif Medical Officer at Children's Hospital of Michigan and DMC.

Dr. Valentini says they've seen 20-25 cases in children ages three months all the way to 18 years-old since April. He says the symptoms mimic another condition called Kawasaki Disease. Symptoms include fever, rash, strawberry red tongue, and abdominal pain or diarrhea.

"Kawasaki is the name of vasculitis, it's an inflammation of the blood vessel. we typically see in young children. We don't really know the underlying cause but it is something that can cause irritation with the blood vessels of the heart"

The new condition putting 10 to 15 of their cases in the ICU with some requiring ventilators.

"What's really really scary is that they're also developing a lot of heart involvement which ultimately requires ICU care. Sometimes to put on blood pressure medicine to keep the blood pressure elevated to help the heart pump."

Experts at their hospital started connecting the dots and associating the symptoms with COVID-19 after seeing reports from the UK and New York.

Dr. Valentini doesn't believe the issue is isolated to just the southeastern part of the state.

"I think Detroit's heavily populated. We've been heavily impacted by COVID so it's probably not a surprise that we're seeing it here if we're seeing it in our state but I don't think Detroit's got exclusivity on this"

Dr. Valintini says parents have to act fast.

"If their child has a fever for a couple of days, they're not acting right, moaning and groaning, saying their belly hurts, maybe they're having some diarrhea, pick up the phone and call their pediatrician"

Dr. Valintini says he has sent a memo to pediatricians across the state. He says because of that and media attention, two patients have been admitted to the intensive care unit.

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