HOUSTON – Texas Children’s Hospital confirmed that several children have or are suspected of having multisystem inflammatory syndrome, which is linked to the coronavirus.

The hospital stated that not all of its patients are critically ill from the syndrome. For privacy reasons, the hospital has not said exactly how many patients it’s treating or how old they are.

“There was no reason to think that Houston and Texas would skip this consequence of COVID-19 infection and sure enough, it arrived in about the same time frame as the original infection hit us compared to the East Coast,” said Dr. Lara Shekerdemian, chief of critical care.

She said some of the patients may not have shown signs of an initial COVID-19 infection.

“It seems to affect children about four to six weeks after exposure to COVID so it’s quite a long time lag between any exposure or early illness and then the MIS-C complication,” Dr. Shekerdemian said.

Doctors are taking several steps to diagnose the children, including taking a close look at their symptoms.

MIS-C has similar characteristics of Kawasaki disease, including high fever, rash on the chest, back and abdomen, red eyes or conjunctivitis, swelling and inflammation of the mouth, lips and throat, enlarged lymph glands in the neck, and redness and swelling of the hands and feet.

The difference between MIS-C and classic Kawasaki disease are the fact that MIS-C does seem to affect older children, and abdominal pain appears to be common in those with MIS-C, according to the hospital.

Texas Children’s Hospital released the following statement:

“Texas Children’s confirmed several patients in the hospital are confirmed to have or are suspected of having multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), and not all of these patients are critically ill. The hospital has a multidisciplinary team of experts, including cardiologists, rheumatologists, critical care and infectious disease physicians, among others, who are uniquely suited to care for these patients due to their vast expertise in treating more than 100 children with Kawasaki disease each year.

“The symptoms of MIS-C mirror many of the characteristics of Kawasaki disease, including high fever, rash on the chest, back and abdomen, red eyes or conjunctivitis, swelling and inflammation of the mouth, lips and throat, enlarged lymph glands in the neck, and redness and swelling of the hands and feet. Important distinctions between MIS-C and classic Kawasaki disease are the fact that MIS-C does seem to affect older children, and abdominal pain appears to be common in those with MIS-C.

“As Texas Children’s experts and their colleagues across the world continue to learn more about this new consequence of COVID-19, we encourage parents to call their pediatrician if their child exhibits these symptoms. Texas Children’s highest priority remains the health and safety of those we serve. We will continue to keep the community at-large informed, while also respecting the privacy rights of our patients. In order to combat the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, Texas Children’s also continues various precautionary measures – including universal screening and social distancing – across our health care system in Houston and Austin to limit contact exposure and ensure the safety of our patients, their families and our team members.”

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