UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s examining children with ‘mystery condition’ believed to be linked to COVID-19


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) — University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s confirms they are currently examining children with symptoms similar to those in other parts of the country who have died from a mystery illness doctors believe is linked to COVID-19.

“We don’t know what’s going on, and yes it has come here to Ohio,” said Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease expert at UH Rainbow. “I’ve spent the last week reaching out to infectious disease colleagues all over the country, and it actually seems pretty universal. Wherever there’s coronavirus, there’s this inflammatory syndrome.”

The condition, called Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, has left dozens of children in New York hospitalized. It’s believed to have killed three children there.

It mostly impacts children who have tested positive for the virus or antibodies and reportedly resembles Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome. Scientists first spotted it in children with COVID-19 in Europe.

Edwards said doctors aren’t yet sure how to manage the condition, but that the “vast, vast, vast majority of these kids do seem to improve.”

She said the children are coming in with high fever, severe abdominal pain or diarrhea, and sometimes in inflammatory shock.

“So they’re so inflamed, they’re basically presenting in shock. and they will often require aggressive supportive care,” she said. “It kind of caught us off guard. All of us.”

New York health officials issued an advisory about the syndrome earlier this week. Click here to read the public health advisory issued by the New York Department of Health.

While medical experts say the condition is “rare,” they advise families that have had a coronavirus infection be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Prolonged fever (more than five days)
  • Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids
  • Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Rash or change in skin color – becoming pale, patchy and/or blue
  • Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly
  • Racing heart or chest pain
  • Decreased amount of frequency in urine
  • Lethargy, irritability or confusion

Click here for more on pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome.

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