3 children diagnosed with illness that may be linked to COVID-19

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A mysterious illness that affects children could be linked to COVID-19, and its rare but serious complication is alarming doctors.

Doctors at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids are calling the complication Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Illness. They say it’s linked to a coronavirus infection in children and most importantly, it affects the heart.

“If a child does develop this inflammatory syndrome, they certainly need medical attention,” said Dr. Rosemary Olivero, section chief of pediatric infectious diseases at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Pediatricians said three West Michigan children, all under the age of 10, were either diagnosed with the illness or Kawasaki disease, which closely mirrors the illness. Doctors are still working to confirm whether the children’s conditions are linked to coronavirus, although they suspect it is.

“We have to wait for some time for the body to produce anti-bodies against coronavirus to be able to detect that was actually at play,” Dr. Olivero said.

Doctors said they’ve seen around 25 cases of the illness at Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.

“Most of these patients are going into the intensive care unit,” said Dr. Rudolph Valentini, chief medical officer of Children’s Hospital of Michigan. “We’ve had two patients go on (Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation), it’s a heart-lung bypass machine.”

Before the illness gets that severe, medical professionals want parents to look out for possible symptoms.

Dr. Olivero said the illness can be deadly if it’s not caught and treated. 

Medical professional said the illness is treated with anti-inflammatory medications. They urged parents to evaluate their children at home and seek medical attention they may be suffering.

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