MIS-C cases didn't spike after delta surge, physicians say

After the delta variant fueled a surge in COVID-19 infections this summer, many physicians were bracing for a spike in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C. However, unlike after past surges, no such spike has occurred, NBC News reported Dec. 13. 

"We held our breath for that four to eight weeks after the surge, saying, 'OK, get ready, here comes MIS-C,'" Buddy Creech, MD, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told NBC News. "It just never materialized."

MIS-C cases spiked after the U.S. experienced COVID-19 surges in spring 2020 and last winter. While the delta variant's emergence drove pediatric infections to record levels this summer, "there are fewer [MIS-C] cases than we would expect," Roberta DeBiasi, MD, chief of infectious diseases at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., told NBC News. 

Children's National treated about 60 MIS-C patients after the first wave, 100 after the second wave and just 40 after the latest surge, according to Dr. DeBiasi. She said vaccination trends may play a role, as delta became dominant when a lot of children were getting inoculated. Dr. Creech also suggested that lower MIS-C rates may be linked to the delta variant's specific tendencies. 

Overall, cases of MIS-C are rare. As of Nov. 30, there have been 5,973 cases and 52 deaths in the U.S., CDC data shows.


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