Two children in western Washington treated for rare inflammatory illness linked to Covid-19

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OLYMPIA, Wash. – Two western Washington children have been treated for a rare - and serious - inflammatory condition that's been found in some children and linked to the coronavirus.

According to the state Department of Health, the two patients - one in Snohomish County and one in King County - were both diagnosed with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with Covid-19.

One patient is under the age of 10 and the other is between 10 and 19 years old. Both were treated at Seattle Children's.

The condition has been reported in at least 110 New York children and in several kids in other states. A few children have died.

“We’re investigating some other cases to determine whether they might meet the criteria. We only have the two so far that we feel confident are in this MIS-C syndrome category,” said Dr. John McGuire, Pediatric Critical Care division chief at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Some children may have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease, a rare condition in children that can cause swelling and heart problems.

Reported cases have all involved children but the CDC said it is unknown if the condition can occur in adults.

There are only two cases reported in Washington state as of May 22.

Health care providers in the United Kingdom were the first to recognize cases in late April.

“In Washington, we are tracking this issue closely and working with local health departments and providers to learn more,” said Dr. Kathy Lofy, state health officer for DOH. “Early last week we asked all health care providers in the state to be on the lookout and immediately report possible cases to local health authorities.”

The current case definition includes the following:

  • Under the age of 21, with a fever, laboratory evidence of inflammation, and severe illness involving more than two organs that requires hospitalization; AND
  • No other plausible diagnoses; AND
  • Positive COVID-19 test, or exposure to a confirmed case, within the four weeks prior to the onset of symptoms.

“Although it remains very uncommon, parents should call their primary care providers if their children are showing new or unusual symptoms, such as a persistent fever or headache, abdominal pain with or without diarrhea, fatigue, and respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath," said Dr. John McGuire, chief of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at Seattle Children’s.

Public health officials said they will not release any additional information about the Washington state cases, citing privacy concerns.

Doctors should be on the lookout for the condition and report suspected cases to local or state health departments. It should be suspected in all deaths in children who had evidence of COVID-19 infection, the CDC said.

Children are less likely than adults to develop COVID-19 and their illnesses usually are less severe although they can spread the disease without showing symptoms.

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