At least 4 children treated at Riley for mysterious illness during pandemic


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As of Friday, Riley Hospital for Children has treated at least four patients for a mysterious illness attacking children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s called multisystem inflammatory syndrome. This week Indiana joined more than a dozen states that have reported at least one case.

It’s a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. 

“Some have been coming in very quite sick and needed to go to the critical care unit,” said Dr. James Woods, an infectious disease physician at Riley. “Others have been watched in the hospital.”

Health officials do not yet know what causes this syndrome. The CDC said it does know many kids with this had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with coronavirus.

“That is really the piece we are still sorting together. I think most of the kids we are making this diagnosis in do have some sort of link or were able to look for it in labs. Some of the kids we have right now in the hospital we are still waiting on some of the labs,” he said.

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome can be serious, even deadly. However, the CDC explains most children who were diagnosed have gotten better with medical care.

Dr. Wood says the conditions seem similar to Kawasaki disease which causes inflammation in the blood vessels.

“In general, we will see Kawasaki throughout the year. It is usually not in big clusters of four of five kids at a time. Every now and again that does happen but in general it is a couple every week or so,” he said.

He wants parents to be educated on specific symptoms which include abdominal pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, feeling extra tired or fever.

You should also seek emergency care if your child is showing these warning signs of the syndrome: trouble breathing, bluish lips or chest pain that does not go away.

“If they really feel the child needs emergency attention absolutely we want them to bring them to the emergency room but talking through it with their doctor first is always a good idea just to help trouble shoot exactly where we need to go,” said Dr. Wood.

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