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Pediatricians warn of spike in rare MIS-C syndrome

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Posted at 6:42 AM, Oct 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-08 09:03:22-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville has seen 82 cases of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) since the start of the pandemic with nearly 25% of cases in September.

MIS-C has only been studied for a little over a year as it is caused by COVID-19.

Children's at Vanderbilt pediatrician Dr. Sophie Katz at explained, "It happens three to four weeks after somebody is exposed to COVID. So because COVID infections have spiked in our region in the past few months, especially with the delta variant, we've seen a huge increase in MIS-C in the past month."

As of October 7, the hospital has seen 82 cases of MIS-C since the start of the pandemic, with 20 cases in September alone. Statewide, as of October 5, there were 156 cases of the syndrome.

"I wouldn't blame it on going back to school if people are going back to school safely, like using hand hygiene and wearing masks, then it's mostly just that they're getting COVID in the community," said Katz.

Not all children diagnosed with MIS-C were diagnosed with COVID-19, Katz said they just had COVID without knowing it.

Katsz' fear? Cases will continue to spike in the rare disease as the fall progresses due to the higher number of COVID cases in kids.

She said the symptoms of the syndrome include a "fever that lasts three or more days, along with abdominal pain or vomiting or diarrhea, fatigue, people get really, really tired, a weird red kind of blotchy rashes is the rash that we usually see. And anything kind of new or different with the fever."

Dr. Sophie Katz
Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt Pediatrician Dr. Sophie Katz

Although Katz said most children recover in the hospital within a few days, "What we worry about the most is the heart involvement. So, that's why we really admit people and try to treat them quickly so that we can avoid any of the cardiac dysfunction."

As far as prevention, she said the best thing for families to do is practice COVID safety: Washing hands and practicing social distancing when not in a mask.

"I think as parents we all want to do whatever we can to protect our children and if we can protect them from getting something as serious as MIS-C then I would 100% do that," explained Katz. "So, getting vaccinated and kind of creating a cocoon around the children who aren't age-eligible yet for vaccines is a huge way to prevent this from happening."

To read the latest from the CDC about MIS-C, click here.