Cases of rare syndrome in children linked to COVID-19 rising in South Florida

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - The growing number of children contracting the coronavirus is raising concern because of a rare condition seen in some children who have contracted the virus.

The rare condition, called Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, affects the inflammatory response in children, which can be deadly.

“We have six patients admitted to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital with Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome of children,” Dr. Ronald Ford, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer, said. “This is an inflammatory process that develops somewhere in between three and six weeks after COVID-19 infection in a child. A small percentage of kids will go on to have this rather severe multi-system illness where they develop often high fevers, GI symptoms, sometimes cardiac syndromes.”

Although symptoms vary from case to case, some include a persistent fever of over 100 F, rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, swelling of the hands and feet and rapid heartbeat.

A 9-year-old boy in New York City and a girl in Louisiana were diagnosed with the syndrome and were subsequently hospitalized. The Louisiana girl suffered a heart attack as a result of contracting the syndrome.

“I couldn’t really do anything because I was in a lot of pain,” the girl said.

Other symptoms could include a decreased appetite, red or pink eyes, headaches, a shock-like state, low blood pressure, disorientation and irritability.

Based on the numbers provided by the state, officials said the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida have leveled off after what appeared to be a spike on Wednesday. Officials said the spike was because of a backlog of cases dating back two months that were reported Wednesday.

In the last 24 hours, Miami-Dade County added 1,713 cases, Broward added 661 new cases and Monroe County added 21 new cases of the virus.

Doctors said children can suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms, and if they are experiencing those symptoms, they need to seek medical help as soon as possible.

“Some of these kids, because they’re so sick, require intensive care,” Ford said. “We also want to get the message out to healthcare providers in the community. We might be seeing children, whether they’re pediatricians or family medicine doctors in their offices or physicians in urgent care centers or emergency departments, to be on the lookout for this.”

Every child diagnosed with the syndrome at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

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