Colorado alerts doctors to be on the lookout for COVID-related syndrome in children

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) encourages parents and guardians to keep up with well-child checkups and contact a health care provider when their child is ill, especially if they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Children’s Hospital Colorado recently notified the CDPHE about three potential cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C). The cases have been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for review and final determination.

MIS-C is a syndrome in children that appears to be related to COVID-19. The CDC and CDPHE recently alerted health care providers to be on the lookout for this illness and to report any suspected cases to state public health. The state and Children’s Hospital Colorado also are working to determine whether any previously identified cases of COVID-19 meet the CDC’s case definition for MIS-C. 

“It’s important to emphasize that this emerging inflammatory syndrome is very rare and that it is safe to take your child to their doctor or to the hospital, if needed,” said Dr. Sam Dominguez, pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Children’s Hospital. “If your child is ill, especially with prolonged fever, call a doctor to get advice. Parents and providers working together can determine if their child needs to be seen.” 

Experts at Children’s Hospital Colorado describe MIS-C as having features of Kawasaki disease, a systemic inflammatory disease of children primarily seen in kids under the age of 5. Symptoms of Kawasaki disease include:

• Several days of high fever.

• Rash.

• Red eyes. 

• Red lips or tongue.

• Red or swollen hands and feet.

• Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

• If left untreated, damage to the arteries that supply the heart occurs in 20-25 percent of cases.

In contrast to Kawasaki disease, children with MIS-C are often older, have more severe gastrointestinal complaints including abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea, and have involvement of multiple organ systems. Children who meet the case definition are sometimes ill enough to require intensive care, but few have died. 

The CDPHE encourages parents and guardians to resume well-child care they may have delayed during the Stay at Home order. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things, but kids still need their checkups and vaccinations,” said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, state epidemiologist, CDPHE. For more information, visit covid19.colorado.gov/well-child.

If your child is severely ill, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately.

Continue to stay up to date by visiting covid19.colorado.gov.

 

This story was posted on June 2, 2020.