Pediatrician concerned about cases of illness affecting children after COVID-19

FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) – As positive cases of COVID-19 continue to increase in the state, so does the number of children being treated for a serious illness related to the coronavirus.

At least 99 children have been diagnosed with multi-system inflammatory syndrome in Michigan and at least five children have died from the disease. An emergency pediatrician from Flint Township believes the number of cases is much higher.

MIS-C can strike two to four weeks after having been diagnosed with COVID-19 in a child between the ages of 2 and 15.

MIS-C presents as other symptoms. Unfortunately, it is confused with the common cold or stomach flu, but in reality it is more complicated and has more potential side effects, ”said Dr. Faisal Mawri.

Symptoms of the disease include lethargy, weakness, abdominal pain, inflammation of the heart, kidney failure, liver failure, and inflammation of other organs. Mawri said two symptoms distinguish MIS-C from other diseases, so parents should pay close attention to them.

“It presents with a fever for five days, so a fever for five days is a good sign to look for,” he said. “And then it also presents with a rash, such as a rash on the lips or sometimes on the hands.”

Mawri has seen two cases of MIS-C in Genesee County involving a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy. Both cases had a fever for five days and a rash.

“Some of them were on antibiotics and didn’t respond to them, and then of course we say, wait a minute, where does this result come from and we put the two together,” Mawri said. “Once we did the lab work, it showed the low sodium, the platelets are down, and then we decided this was absolutely MIS-C.”

Because there is a lot of overlap in symptoms between MIS-C and other illnesses, he believes the number of cases and deaths in the state is actually much higher than what the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports.

“Some children may have COVID-19 and be mistaken for a cold or acute gastroenteritis, but in reality they can develop MIS-C two weeks later,” Mawri said. “When we test them for the antibodies, the antibodies are usually positive.”

He said parents should call their child’s pediatrician right away if they were suspicious of MIS-C. Some children may need to be hospitalized and some may need intensive care.

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