WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – States across the United States are seeing a rare illness that may be linked to COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors, warning them to be on the lookout for a dangerous inflammatory illness that is impacting children. More than 110 cases have been reported in New York and three people, ages 5,7 and 18 have died from the illness.
There are 18 states that have reported cases of the rare illness now known as Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome or PMIS. The illness has characteristics of Kawaski Disease as well as Toxic Shock Syndrome. The illness can cause various symptoms.
“Fever that’s lasting longer than a few days and they have some of these other manifestations like a rash, or red eyes, but also very, very tired or just not seeming like their normal self or they’re not acting their normal self,” said KU School of Medicine Wichita, Pediatric Infectious Disease Physician, Dr. Robert Wittler.
Symptoms can also include inflammation and poor function in organs, such as the kidneys or heart.
The mystical illness first surfaced in the United Kingdom in late April. Now doctors are investigating over 150 reported cases, with the majority of them being in New York. Children’s Mercy in Kansas City reported it’s treated one patient for the illness. The Kansas State Health Department said the state of Kansas has not had any reports of the illness.
Experts say the pro-inflammatory disorder could be a delayed response to COVID-19.
“There were patients who tested negative for the virus, it wasn’t in their body at the time they were tested, but they then tested them for antibodies to the virus and they had antibodies,” said Dr. Wittler. “There were patients who could’ve had the infection earlier and then basically it’s their immune response that causes the disorder. That’s what’s common to this is that there’s inflammation from your immune system, just like Kawasaki’s or other things.”
Dr. Wittler says despite the growing number of cases, patients have been responding well to treatment and do recover.
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