What CDC researchers learned from studying 1,700 cases of MIS-C

New CDC-led research suggests multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children — a rare condition possibly linked to COVID-19 — coincides with the timing and geographic spread of U.S. virus surges, according to a study published April 6 in JAMA Pediatrics.

For the study, CDC researchers analyzed data on 1,733 patients diagnosed with MIS-C between March 2020 and January. Researchers compared the geographic and temporal distribution of these cases to COVID-19 cases over the same period.

Six findings:

1. The cumulative incidence of MIS-C was 2.1 cases per 100,000 people under age 21.

2. About 60 percent of children required intensive care, and 24 children (1.4 percent) died.

3. Nearly 58 percent of children were male, and 71.4 percent were Hispanic or Black.

4. More than half of children had gastrointestinal symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, along with a skin rash and conjunctival hyperemia.

5. Overall, 90 percent of patients had health issues involving at least four organs, 54 percent experienced hypotension or shock, and 31 percent had cardiac dysfunction.

6. National peaks of MIS-C cases came two to five weeks after COVID-19 peaks and mirrored the virus's spread from urban areas to rural parts of the country.

"The geographic and temporal association of MIS-C with the COVID-19 pandemic suggested that MIS-C resulted from delayed immunologic responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection," study authors wrote, adding that "physicians should maintain a high index of suspicion for MIS-C to promptly diagnose and treat these patients."

To view the full study, click here.

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