The hyperinflammatory shock syndrome, which is similar to Kawasaki disease, was first witnessed among children in Britain in mid-April. Since then, similar cases have been observed in four other European countries as well as 14 states in the United States.
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an alert for the rare and often deadly syndrome seen among children exposed to the novel coronavirus. The CDC has named it the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). The MIS-C is an autoimmune disease, which results when the immune system mistakenly attacks the patient's body.
In a statement, the CDC said: "Healthcare providers who have cared or are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should report suspected cases to their local, state, or territorial health department". The MIS-C criteria include fever, multiple inflamed organs that might require hospitalization, a confirmed active or recent coronavirus infection and no other plausible causes for the symptoms, AFP reported.
The CDC said that physicians should "consider MIS-C in any pediatric death with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection". Whether the syndrome affects those beyond the above-mentioned age group is not yet known.
Rare inflammatory syndrome observed among U.K. children
U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) issued an alert in late April about the coronavirus-linked inflammatory syndrome, BBC reported. Symptoms observed included fever, low blood pressure, rash and breathing difficulty, similar to Kawasaki disease. Some also experienced gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach pain, vomiting or diarrhea and inflammation of the heart. According to experts, this results when the body gets overwhelmed while fighting a contagion.
Inflammatory syndrome among children in New York
On Wednesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that the state is investigating 102-cases and three deaths from the rare inflammatory syndrome. Among them, 60 percent tested positive for coronavirus and 40 percent had tested positive for antibodies, Cuomo said. The majority of them belonged to the age group of 5-14 years, Forbes reported. Earlier the syndrome was called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome. It has now been named the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C).
Disease affects a certain population and spares others?
The MIS-C was first observed in Europe followed by North America. No such syndrome was witnessed in Asian countries, such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and especially China - the initial epicenter of coronavirus outbreak.
This could be because a certain population might be more susceptible to it than others. According to a Lancet study, among the initial cluster of eight children with the inflammatory syndrome, six were of Afro-Caribbean descent.