Over half of U.S. states see cases of virus-related syndrome in children, a report finds.
Over half of American states have seen young people become seriously ill from a virus-related inflammatory syndrome, most of them previously healthy, according to the first national report on such cases.
Nearly 90 percent of the 186 patients in the report were hospitalized, and most of those needed intensive care, the researchers said. One in five of the patients, who were all under 21, became so sick that they required ventilators, and four children died. The study was conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and several hospitals.
The study, published Monday in The New England Journal of Medicine, along with a separate report by the New York State Health Department, provides the most detailed picture to date of how the recently identified condition has spread and how devastating it can be for some children.
The condition, called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (or MIS-C) appears to arise two to four weeks after children become infected. Most seem to have no or very few of the initial respiratory symptoms that are a hallmark of the virus in adults, suggesting that their bodies were able to fight off the first strike of the infection.
But experts believe that the immune system in some children gets revved up weeks later, causing a surge of inflammatory symptoms like rashes, red eyes, digestive problems and persistent fever. In the most serious cases, the children develop a racing heart rate and very low blood pressure — a form of shock — and can experience inflammation of the heart or cardiac failure that can be deadly.
The New York Times