Dayton Children’s prepares for possible cases of mystery illness


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – As doctors across the nation monitor a mystery illness appearing in children that may be linked to COVID-19, Dayton Children’s Hospital is preparing to treat any potential cases.

According to Dr. Sherman Alter, chief of infectious diseases, Dayton Children’s has not seen any cases of the new pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome so far. But cases have popped up in other cities like Detroit and Cleveland, according to officials.

With the number of cases growing around the United States, some parents told 2 NEWS they are concerned.

“I’m really worried about her going back to school,” said Bridget Walker, a mother of two in Greene County. “I know it’s important for her to do that.”

“Of course those things are out of our hands,” said Norman Scearce, a father of three and a Trotwood school board member. “But it does have the possibility of affecting how education works locally.”

The illness – while rare – has been found in children of all ages, and many of them have tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, regardless of whether they showed any COVID-19 symptoms, Dr. Alter explained.

“It looks like the entire illness may be a hyper-inflammatory response to the virus infection,” he said.

The condition appears to be similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome, Dr. Alter said.

Symptoms include a fever that goes beyond four or five days, the whites of the eyes turning red and a red rash all over the body, Dr. Alter said. The tongue may also be red, and there may be swelling of the hands and feet, he added.

“We have the medications that we need,” Dr. Alter said. “We even have some extra medications that we don’t routinely use with kids that present classic Kawasaki disease that we could use.”

Dr. Alter recommends calling your child’s primary care doctor if you notice any symptoms. Though many children with the illness have to be hospitalized, and a few deaths have been reported in the United States, the vast majority get better, he said.

Dr. Alter also urges parents to ensure their kids continue to practice social distancing.

“My hope is, and I think it’s probably correct, is that we’re not going to see tons of these cases,” Dr. Alter said. “I keep emphasizing it’s relatively uncommon compared to the numbers of cases of bad disease we’re seeing in adults.”

It’s too early to tell whether the illness leaves any long-lasting effects, Dr. Alter said.

An Ohio Department of Health spokesperson told 2 NEWS Tuesday she could not provide a total number of cases statewide since the illness not currently a reportable disease.

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