Pediatricians Watch For Covid-Related Illness In Children

Jun 24, 2020

A Tacoma pediatrician expects the Northwest to see more cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children.
Credit Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pediatricians are on the lookout for more cases of a Covid-related virus that has afflicted a handful of children in the Northwest.

It’s called Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in children and it shows up after a child has contracted Covid.

Dr. Mary Fairchok says the syndrome was first identified in early May in London. Fairchok is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.

“Two to four weeks after these children have been infected with the virus, they present with a variety of symptoms that reflect the fact that they’re immune system is quite angry and responding in dangerous ways to the virus. So it’s really what we would call a post-infectious disease or problem," Fairchok said.

She says it’s similar to another condition called Kawasaki disease that has received attention for its effect on young children. A handful of kids in Washington have contracted Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome. Fairchok says it can be fatal. Many spend time in hospital intensive care units, some with heart problems. But like Covid, most children recover from it.

“Most of those kids with the cardiac complications, over time those resolve, but not all children. There’s the potential for long-standing cardiac damage in these children," she said.

The main symptom to look for, she says, is a persistent fever. 

"Then they can have a variety of things," she said. "They can have a rash. They can have red or inflamed eyes. They can have difficulty breathing. They can have sweatiness or pallor, faintness, almost looking like they have a seizure or something.”

Fairchok advises parents to call their children’s doctor if they see some of these symptoms or even go to the emergency room if the symptoms show a worsening of their children’s conditions.