W. MI child’s death linked to COVID-19

Coronavirus

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A West Michigan child has died from complications thought to be directly related to coronavirus.

Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital confirms to News 8 that the child died after being diagnosed with multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children, also known as MIS-C.

MIS-C is a rare inflammatory syndrome that affects children, typically after they’ve recovered from a COVID-19 infection.

“Unfortunately, we’ve been seeing cases of MIS-C at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. It’s a byproduct of coronavirus that we’re not totally sure of the whole connection,” said Dr. Daniel McGee, pediatric hospitalist.

The hospital says it couldn’t give specifics about the child’s age or when the child died.

However, officials say several children have been admitted to the hospital with MIS-C over the last few months.

“We’ve had at least a few patients hospitalized because of it. In the last week, there were at least two,” he said.

Below is News 8’s conversation with McGee about MIS-C:

News 8: Does it usually occur after the child has recovered from COVID-19?

McGee: Most of the time, MIS-C occurs after the active infection over. You can (sometimes) see it during the actual infection. But most of the time, its afterwards.

News 8: Does that make it tricky for parents and kids to be on the lookout for signs of MIS-C?

McGee: I think it’s kind of scary and that’s why we warn parents and children who have coronavirus to watch out for these signs and symptoms.

News 8: Kids are often thought to be less at risk for developing severe cases of COVID-19, but can you explain how MIS-C impacts into that?

McGee: The majority of children will get through coronavirus just fine. The problem is the ones who get sick, get really sick, and can even die of the infection or some consequences of the infection.

News 8: Does the severity of a child’s COVID-19 infection influence the likelihood of that child contracting MIS-C?

McGee: There’s no data that connects how severe a coronavirus infection is and if the child will get MIS-C. So, it can be kind of random. We don’t have a good explanation as to why some children get it and not others.

News 8: What’s it like treating these patients?

McGee: I’d rather not have to do it. These are children that can get very, very sick and as I’ve said before some of these kids can die. This virus is real. This virus is dangerous. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a child or an adult. So, we all have to be careful to make sure we don’t get it because your child could be the one that suffers from a major consequence.

News 8: What treatments are there for patients with MIS-C?

McGee: What we do know about MIS-C is that there are some similarities with an illness known as Kawasaki syndrome. So a lot of the treatment we use for MIS-C is the same treatment we use for Kawasaki syndrome. That involves the use of steroids and other anti-inflammatories to help calm down the inflammation and help prevent further damage from the body.

News 8: How effective is the treatment for MIS-C?

McGee: As with any other illness, there are varying degrees of severity with MIS-C. We have to use different medications with different children. So we have to use different variations of medicine for different children. Some children do well. Some children do not as well and suffer long-term consequences.

News 8: Why don’t we hear more about MIS-C?

McGee: I think children should be aware of it and I think people should be on the lookout if your child may have it. Nobody’s trying to keep it a secret. We would like to get the publicity out there that this is something parents need to be aware of, particularly if your child has had a COVID-19 infection and you think they’ve recovered and then they go on to develop symptoms, those people need to seek immediate care.

News 8: What are the symptoms?

McGee: The big thing we see as far as symptoms that may be concerning for MIS-C is a prolonged fever, a fever greater than 24 hours. We can also see rashes, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Those are the things you need to look out for that if your child is having any of those, particularly after they’ve had a COVID-19 infection, you should seek care from your physician.

News 8: Is MIS-C contagious from one person to another?

McGee: No, MIS-C is not in itself contagious. People who have it will not spread it to other people. The coronavirus that seems to trigger it, obviously, that’s contagious.

News 8: What else should parents know about MIS-C?

McGee: The best way to prevent MIS-C is to prevent the coronavirus infection in the first place and that boils down to the basics: social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands. There are people out there who don’t believe this is all real. If they could sit in my shoes for a day and see the sick people that we see at the hospital, they would know this is real. MIS-C is very real and we do see it in West Michigan.

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