KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children’s Mercy Hospital is now treating a second confirmed case of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.
Cases across the US, and now Kansas City, have doctors trying to determine how this mysterious illness, once called PMIS, is related to COVID-19.
They’ve been popping up in cities about a month after the community saw widespread coronavirus cases.
Even though doctors stress that this disease is rare, it has some parents worried.
Andrew Sarol has a fast-moving toddler and wants to keep it that way.
“It’s kind of like coronavirus for kids,” she said. “It’s just the scariest to think about.”
MIS-C itself is not contagious, but COVID-19 is. Doctors say all patients have either had COVID-19, tested positive for antibodies or have come into contact with someone who had the virus who didn’t show symptoms.
It’s raising a lot of questions.
“Is there anything that we can do to prevent it?” Sarol asked. “Is there anything that we can put on them? Like anything that we could give them to, you know, have their immune system a little bit more up?”
But there’s no vaccine for MIS-C or even an actual test.
“There’s unfortunately no specific test to say that kids have multi-system inflammatory syndrome,” said Dr. Jennifer Schuster, an infectious disease specialist at Children’s Mercy. “It’s a group of clinical things that we’re looking for.”
They’re looking for kids under 21 with a fever, inflammation and problems with organs.
“They also can’t have another explanation,” Schuster said. “We’re seeing other common infections in children. Those have to be ruled out.”
As far as taking kids to day care, sending them to summer camp, Schuster said the decision is up to parents.
“I think that we can teach our kids how to do this safely and then parents are going to have to decide what’s the right decision for them in their specific situation,” she said.
Schuster also said the best thing is to keep doing what you’re doing to prevent any illness: washing your hands, practicing good hygiene and staying home when you’re sick.
For Sarol, she’s willing to do those things and anything else doctors suggest.
“Especially for kids,” the Lenexa mom said. “They are the future, something bigger than we’re going to be. So I just hope they can do something for them.”
Schuster said she was on a call Tuesday morning with colleagues in the United Kingdom and New York where they’re seeing the most MIS-C cases.
Even there, they said these numbers are low. This disease is rare. But they stressed its tie to the COVID-19 offers another reason to take the virus seriously.