Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children happens in about one out of 5,000 unvaccinated children, according to Dr. Mathieu DeSchutter, the Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center.
It is a complication of a COVID-19 infection and happens anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after contracting COVID-19. MIS-C involves the inflammation of multiple organs.
“We did have a surge of Omicron-related admissions to the hospital in the pediatric department in mid-January, so we are expecting a surge of MIS-C starting right about now… four to six weeks after the beginning of the surge,” said Dr. DeSchutter.
He says MIS-C did not exist before COVID-19. Dr. DeSchutter explained that children can have a prolonged fever, rash, lethargy, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhea, and respiratory issues and in the most severe cases, cardiac shock as well as blood and protein loss in urine.
“The vaccination is 95% effective at preventing MIS-C and 100 percent effective at preventing it from becoming severe enough to require admission to an ICU, which usually involves cardiac shock,” he said.
Dr. DeSchutter says doctors saw the most cases of MIS-C after the initial wave of COVID-19, but they are expecting more now because of how widespread Omicron was.
“So the biggest surge in MIS-C was after the first wave of COVID-19. After children started getting immunized, we saw a decrease in presentation," he said, adding that even children who had complications generally had good outcomes with the appropriate follow-up.
Doctors say there are about six months where there were restrictions on exercise and sports for affected patients, and medical professionals will likely have to keep track as the children grow up to see the long-term effects in children diagnosed with MIS-C.