Colorado public health officials on Wednesday announced three possible cases of a rare new syndrome in children that is believed to be related to the novel coronavirus.
Children’s Hospital Colorado is looking into the suspected cases of the multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, known as MIS-C, which in recent weeks has been identified in western Europe and the U.S.
To protect the children’s privacy, state health officials are not releasing any further information about the three cases.
Dr. Samuel Dominguez, a pediatric infectious disease specialist, said in a news conference that doctors are still in the early stages of learning about the syndrome, but they believe it affects children primarily between 5 and 15 years old, and likely is an after-effect of COVID-19, rather than direct damage from the virus.
The condition previously had been referred to by a more unwieldy name: pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with SARS-COV-2, or PIMS-TS. Last week, doctors told The Denver Post it had not yet been detected in Colorado.
Children often see very mild or no symptoms at all from the new coronavirus, and this new inflammatory syndrome can appear four weeks after a child is infected, said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, Colorado’s state epidemiologist.
Symptoms may include high fever for multiple days and red eyes, lips and tongue, as well as abdominal pain and rashes.
While they know this news may scare parents, Dominguez and Herlihy stressed that MIS-C is quite rare.
“By definition, young people are sick enough to require hospitalization, but most recover well,” Herlihy said.
Doctors are looking into the differences between MIS-C and Kawasaki disease, a rare illness found in infants and children that causes swelling and redness in blood vessels throughout the body.
Dominguez, seated next to Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday, insisted that the hospital can treat these children and encouraged parents to contact their doctors if they notice any of the symptoms associated with MIS-C.
“I know parents are afraid and anxious about this new virus and going to their provider,” Dominguez said. “This is a normal feeling. But I want to reassure everyone that it’s very safe to bring a child to the hospital for care.”
There have been just over 100 cases across the U.S., Dominguez said, with most in New York.
“This is a new and emerging syndrome,” Dominguez said. “There’s a lot we don’t know.”
More information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website.