St. Luke's reports first case of COVID-related inflammatory pediatric syndrome

Posted at 8:35 AM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 19:25:18-04

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho hospital is reporting the state’s first case of a pediatric inflammatory illness associated with the coronavirus.

St. Luke’s Regional Health System spokeswoman Anita Kissée said Tuesday that a 7-year-old child with no known previous health conditions was diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C). The child was treated in the pediatric intensive care unit for four days, returned to the main hospital floor on Sunday and was discharged to continue recovering at home on Monday.

MIS-C is newly recognized and is believed to be a delayed complication of coronavirus infection. It often causes a fever, evidence of inflammation and severe illness involving more than two organs.

"Patients frequently need IV fluids, they commonly need blood-thinning medications because of the risk of clotting, they commonly need pressers, like norepinephrine and epinephrine to maintain their blood pressure and they also commonly need additional infusions to treat this over-vigorous inflammatory response," said Dr. Kenny Bramwell, St. Luke’s Children’s System Medical Director.

So far, at least 570 children in the United States have been diagnosed with MIS-C, with 10 cases turning fatal. Symptoms vary drastically from patient to patient but could include things like persistent fatigue, bloodshot eyes, swollen tongue, cracked lips, abdominal pain, and severe flu-like symptoms.

"One of the systems that can be involved is the respiratory system, where you could have a persistent cough or shortness of breath," said Dr. Bramwell.

Although more research is needed, Dr. Bramwell says so far, MIS-C has not proven to be more contagious among children than COVID-19. The illness instead is a result of a patient's personalized immuno-response to the virus.

Dr. Bramwell says right now there are no known long term effects of MIS-C and although this was their first case, St. Luke's does expect to treat more patients over the next few months. The best preventative methods to avoid catching COVID-19 in the first place are to wear masks, socially distance and frequently wash your hands.