Parents, hospitals and clinics should expect to see more cases of a mystifying condition that seems to be affecting children after a bout with Covid-19, doctors said Wednesday.
The condition, called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, appears to be a post-viral syndrome, said Dr. Jeffrey Burns, a critical care specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital who has been coordinating a global group of doctors who compare notes on the condition.
It has affected at least 100 children in the United States, most of them in New York. But doctors in Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan and elsewhere have also reported cases.
“This multisystem inflammatory syndrome is not directly caused by the virus,” Burns told CNN. “The leading hypothesis is that it is due to the immune response of the patient.”
Symptoms include persistent fever, inflammation and poor function in organs such as the kidneys or heart. Children may also show evidence of blood vessel inflammation, such as red eyes, a bright red tongue and cracked lips.
Burns believes more cases will turn up as Covid-19 affects more people. It’s a rare condition, but rare consequences of viral infections are seen more often when millions of people are infected.
Most children are not seriously affected by the syndrome, Burns said. Most don’t even need treatment in the intensive care unit, he said, although a very few have died. “We do have proven treatments that we can use and are using,” he said. They include blood thinners and immune modulators.