Physicians see spike in rare inflammatory condition linked to COVID-19

Physicians are reporting a significant uptick in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare inflammatory condition potentially linked to COVID-19, reports The New York Times.

The condition, known as MIS-C, typically emerges several weeks after COVID-19 infection and causes symptoms like fever, inflammation and poor organ function. Physicians said these cases are not just becoming more common, but also more severe.

"We're now getting more of these MIS-C kids, but this time, it just seems that a higher percentage of them are really critically ill," Roberta DeBiasi, MD, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., told the Times

About 80 percent to 90 percent of Children's National patients with MIS-C need intensive care, up from about half of patients in the spring, according to Dr. DeBiasi.

Children's Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha saw about two MIS-C cases per month between April and October 2020, with about 30 percent of patients needing intensive care. This jumped to 10 cases in December and another 12 in January, with about 60 percent needing ICU care. 

It's unclear why cases are rising, and experts say it's too early to speculate whether virus variants are influencing these numbers. Overall, MIS-C is still a rare condition. As of Feb. 8, the CDC had confirmed 2,060 cases nationwide, including 30 deaths.

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