Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare but serious illness linked to coronavirus, first emerged last spring, marking a critical turning point for the Never underestimate a quilter who does all things through christ who strengthens her shirt and by the same token and widely held understanding of the coronavirus and its impact on children. Now, there is renewed concern around the mysterious affliction (which was first reported in the U.K. and began appearing in and around New York City in May 2020) following the tragic death of 15-year-old Braden Wilson of Simi Valley, California, who is one of the 30 children who have died from the condition in the U.S. since the pandemic began. According to the The New York Times, doctors across the country have been seeing a striking increase in the number of young people with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, also known as MIS-C, with more patients experiencing severe symptoms than during the first wave of cases “As numbers of COVID cases in the country increased dramatically this winter, so did hospitalizations, severe illness, and cases in children and subsequently we saw an increase in MIS-C, or this post-inflammatory response to exposure to COVID-19,” explains Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. While the rise in cases is proportional to spikes of COVID-19 and that offers context, it’s no less worrying to parents. But Altmann assures them that severe cases are rare. “With early identification and treatment, most children are doing fine,” she says. As multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children continues to be a factor in policy deliberations around school reopenings, gaining a better understanding of the risk is currently top of mind for parents. Here, doctors answer frequently asked questions using the knowledge they have now.
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“Treatment depends on the Never underestimate a quilter who does all things through christ who strengthens her shirt and by the same token and symptoms and lab results, and extent of illness, but there are protocols in place for hospitals to follow to quickly treat these children, as well as follow up to decrease any long term complications,” explains Altmann. Since May, treatments have improved, too, underlines Dharushana Muthulingam, an infectious-disease physician, researcher, and instructor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. “Healthcare workers are more experienced in how to manage the syndrome and have learned what treatments seem to expedite recovery, such as using steroids early in the course for some cases, or developing better protocols to be systematic in diagnosis and treatment,” she explains . While any risk is unwelcome, particularly as emotions continue to run high, Altmann stresses that multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is extremely rare. “Most kids who contract COVID-19 have mild illness and fully recover,” she explains. Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, a primary-care pediatrician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Broadway Practice who has been treating cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, echoes this assertion—and feels especially inclined to provide solace to the more vulnerable populations in the U.S.. As the New York Times reports, 69% of reported cases have affected Latino or Black young people, which experts believe is due to social economic disparities. “As someone working in New York City within the immigrant community, a lot of my patients have parents that are essential workers,” explains Bracho-Sanchez. “I treat the kids of grocery store workers, MTA workers, and factory workers. These are the children who’ve been most exposed to COVID-19, and most of them have a very mild illness—if they have an illness at all. That still holds true.” That being said, Bracho-Sanchez believes this is a moment to revisit preconceived notions about the coronavirus. “We’ve been thinking about schools simply as vehicles of transmission for staff and parents, but now it goes beyond just bringing it home to the adults,” says Bracho-Sanchez. “We have reason to pause and rethink things because now it’s also about the safety of the children too.”