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You may have heard on the news about a “new” COVID-19 related disease that is affecting children called Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). At Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care, we are watching this very closely and receiving updates from the city of San Antonio and Dallas as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
You may be surprised to hear that MIS-C is not entirely new to pediatricians. More commonly known as Kawasaki disease, or Kawasaki syndrome, it is a disease that is on every pediatrician’s radar when they see children less than 5 years of age with prolonged fever (over 5 days) and multiple other symptoms. In fact, you may recall that when your child has been seen for fever, your provider very likely has told you to bring your child back for reevaluation for prolonged fever, and this is one of the reasons. While they are not entirely the same disease, it seems like there are a lot of similarities between them. Prior to COVID-19, approximately 7,000 children per year were affected by Kawasaki disease in the United States. Since April 2020, there have been some reports from the United Kingdom and New York City showing an uptick in cases related to COVID-19. While the numbers are still relatively low, it is certainly something that needs to be watched very closely.
So, what is it? Kawasaki disease is a disease where the body attacks its own blood vessels, causing inflammation of the arteries. In severe cases, the inflammation can cause large sacs in the arteries called aneurysms which can form blood clots and damage the heart. It has always been a puzzling disease, as scientists have not been able to figure out if a virus or bacteria triggers this immune system overreaction. It appears that COVID-10 may be causing a similar response in certain children, causing MIS-C, but we simply are not sure yet. Kawasaki disease can be challenging to diagnose because during the first days of illness, it can very much look like any random viral infection. The symptoms include fever for more than five days, rash, swelling of hands and feet, red eyes without pus, swollen glands, cracked lips, and red tongue. That sounds like any virus! However, an affected child appears much sicker than the usual viral infection, and does not appear to bounce back after taking a fever reducer such as Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. If your Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care Provider suspects MIS-C or Kawasaki’s Disease, your child will be sent to the closest Pediatric Hospital for evaluation by a Cardiologist and Infectious Disease Specialist. If treated early in a hospital, most children recover in a matter of days. Most severe cases are in kids that have been untreated for more than 10 days and are at highest risk for heart disease.
At Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent, we are always trying to keep up with the latest medical news in order to provide the best of care for your child. Please feel free to visit one of our 13 clinics conveniently in San Antonio or Dallas, or connect with one of our Providers at https://littlespurspedi.com/telemedicine/. Stay safe!