Some children in NJ are experiencing a mysterious inflammatory syndrome thought to be related to the COVID-19 virus. During Governor Murphy’s daily COVID-19 briefing on May 15, 2020, Judy Persichelli, Commissioner of the Department of Health, commented on the relation of the new syndrome to COVID-19 by stating there has been, “…no established clear link to COVID-19.”
The syndrome, originally referenced to as Pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) has now been changed to Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). The syndrome affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock. Judy Persichelli, Commissioner of the Department of Health, stated today, 15 children have been diagnosed with the new syndrome in New Jersey. That is up from 12 reported yesterday. Of those 15 children, 11 have tested positive for COVID-19 and 4 remain hospitalized.
The children are between the ages of 2 and 18 years old and reside in the counties of Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, Union and Warren.
New Jersey’s children are not alone when it comes to diagnosis. Spurred by health alerts from New York City about the potential dangers and what symptoms to watch for, more countries looked into their own cases. Positive cases have been identified in at least 14 states and five European countries.
Early detection can prevent serious illness or death. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo urged New York parents to call their pediatricians promptly if their children show symptoms including persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting. During the April 15 briefing, Perisichelli added swollen hands and cracked lips as symptoms to look for. New Jersey’s state epidemiologist, Dr. Christina Tan, added conjunctivitis and overall redness of the eyes to the list of symptoms to be aware of during today’s briefing.
Tan went on to say, “The syndrome is also characterized, unfortunately, with potential multi-system organ failure, particularly with the heart system. So the potential for serious illness associated with this MIS-C is something we are really concerned about. And again we are still trying to figure out and understand this process and how it relates to COVID-19, given this association and you know how that overlaps with other inflammatory diseases like Kawasaki disease.”
The CDC released a summary and description of the new syndrome on April 14. The summary reads, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing 1) background information on several cases of a recently reported multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19); and 2) a case definition for this syndrome. CDC recommends healthcare providers report any patient who meets the case definition to local, state, and territorial health departments to enhance knowledge of risk factors, pathogenesis, clinical course, and treatment of this syndrome.”