Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) has been confirmed in Virginia.

MIS-C is a complex health condition associated with COVID-19 in pediatric patients. The first case in Virginia was reported in a Fairfax County child who was hospitalized on May 5. The patient is now recovering at home.

Health care providers across the state have been issued guidance pertaining to the diagnosis and treatment of MIS-C through a Clinician Letter issued on May 15. In it, the Virginia Health Commissioner stated:

“I urge all health care providers in Virginia to immediately report any patient who meets these criteria to the local health department by the most rapid means. All Virginians should take steps to avoid exposure to COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing cloth face coverings if appropriate.” — Dr. M. Norman Oliver, Virginia Health Commissioner

The syndrome was first reported in the United Kingdom in April 2020 and began making an appearance in New York in early May. To date, there is very little known about MIS-C and aggregate data about affected patients is constantly evolving. In nearby Washington, D.C., Children's National Hospital is reporting 23 cases of MIS-C treated to date, with another possible 5-6 cases under investigation. Four cases have been confirmed in Maryland, including one which led to the death of a Baltimore youth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MIS-C presents in children under the age of 21, with a wide range of possible symptoms including, but not limited to:

  • A sustained fever for over 24 hours
  • Laboratory evidence of inflammation
  • A positive diagnosis of COVID-19 or exposure to a COVID-19 patient
  • Redness in eyes
  • Skin rash
  • Reddened "strawberry tongue"
  • Unexplained swelling of fingers and toes
  • Abdominal pain

taking temperature, thermometer

Courtesy of Unsplash

On the surface, children may present with symptoms similar to the criteria for Kawasaki Disease, so clinicians have been notified to report all cases and test for COVID-19. Parents should watch for sustained fevers and seek medical help for children who exhibit some of the symptoms listed above.

Children afflicted with MIS-C can suffer multi-organ failure if it is not detected in time. Cases may require hospitalization or intensive care monitoring.

For more information about MIS-C, check out the CDC's official website or the Virginia Department of Health's press release. You can also contact your local healthcare provider for an evaluation or additional resources.

How concerned are you about MIS-C and your own children? Are they finding the increased hand hygiene and masks difficult to bear? Let us know in the comments.