MIS-C Made Me Do It: The Syndrome That Haunts Kids

By B. Suryanarayanan

If 2020 was pineapple on pizza, 2021 is cringe curd on Maggi. 

The year that passed had us in sync with Wallows’ song, Are you bored yet? With the introduction of a life-threatening pandemic that came with the christen COVID-19, the population thought that was it

Except, it seems to have a lot more in connection than just the coronavirus haunting our dreams. First you had the lethal variant that took away our dearest near and knowns, letting us work on one thing for eternity, the motto of living together for Us and not I

Next, you had springs from the fungi that reportedly grew from unhygienic conditions widespread owing to the pandemic, and then the numbers grew there too: A black fungus for firsts, a white fungus next and then we have an yellow fungus leading in line too.

But now, the worry lines have notched a tad higher amongst the recoveries of COVID-19 who try to work themselves out from the lethal remnants of the virus. Researchers fear that this might mostly focus its decrying towards kids.

The nation’s capital was the first to draw blanks with question marks against this unique syndrome that has started haunting the lower slabs of the population ecosystem. Around 177 Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) (where C stands for children) cases have been caught, and the doctors are saddened with the results.

It seems the disease doesn’t itself go anywhere: Not today, Not anymore.

MIS-C is considered a syndrome because it is a collection of signs and symptoms, and also because not much is known about this disease, ranging from the causes and the risk factors.

Also christened Paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome, it is a rare systemic illness that involves persistent fever and extreme inflammation owing to exposure to the SARS-CoV-2. It has been noted that in such cases, failure of one or more organs might occur, and insufficient blood flow might occur.

The doctors feel that a majority of the children contracting COVID-19 and thereby falling into MIS might need Intensive Care support.

This life-threatening disease has proved fatal in under 2% of reported cases. Early recognition and prompt specialist attention are essential. Anti-inflammatory treatments have been used, with good responses being recorded for intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), with or without corticosteroids. Oxygen is often observed to be needed to provide for the children suffering from MIS. The researchers have also added that supportive care is key for treating clinical complications. 

Knowledge of this newly described syndrome is evolving rapidly. Its clinical features may appear somewhat similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare disease of unknown origin that typically affects young children, in which blood vessels become inflamed throughout the body. It can also show features of other serious inflammatory conditions of childhood, including toxic shock and macrophage activation syndromes. Nevertheless, it appears to be a separate syndrome. And it seems that older children tend to be affected too.

Though the cause has been attributed to an ‘immunogenic special response’ of bodies to COVID-19, the actual reason hasn’t been established yet. Some common symptoms of this disease include breathlessness, sickness lasting 12 hours or longer, Vomiting, severe abdominal pain, skin rash, feeling unusually tired, fast heartbeat, red eyes, redness or swelling of the lips, tongue, hands and feet, headache, enlargement of lymph nodes.

The age group coming under the MIS-C scanner are children from the age groups from 6 months to 15 years. The majority, however, comes from 5-year-olds to 15-year-olds.

According to the data by the Indian Academy of Paediatrics Intensive Care Chapter, during the first wave of COVID-19, more than 2,000 cases of MIS-C were reported in the country.

Parents have been advised to be on guard even after the recovery of their children from COVID-19 as the syndrome is mostly treatable upon early diagnosis and intervention.

Dear parents, do rush to the nearest doctor if you decry your child holding such symptoms, and do not treat it lightly if the child has just recovered from COVID-19. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, and treatment of this disease is easier and risk free if the child is kept under intensive care.

In these hard times, look out for your loved ones, shielding them at times, and taking appropriate precautions. WHO has reported MIS-A (MIS in adults) as well in some parts of the world. Stay Safe, and Stay Strong.