According to healthcare experts, early diagnosis of Multisystem inflammatory syndrome, a coronavirus-linked disease in children can significantly reduce morbidity so experts advice parents and caregivers not to take fever among the kids lightly.
Some children with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 have also developed this disease say, experts. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a serious condition that is usually seen two to four weeks after getting infected by the novel coronavirus infection and infants as young as two months old have reported this disease.
Even though coronavirus has not taken a serious shape or turn among the children till now the government has already warned about its impact that can increase among them if there is a change in virus behavior or epidemiology dynamics, therefore necessary steps are being taken to strengthen preparedness to deal with any such situation.
According to the experts, early diagnosis of Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children can significantly reduce morbidity and the condition can be treated well with therapies like steroids.
NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul had said at a press conference last week that in the wake of this the national expert group has been formed to review coronavirus infections in children and approach the pandemic in a renewed manner so as to strengthen the nation’s preparedness.
It has also been advised that parents and caregivers to not take fever lightly in their children who had asymptomatic COVID-19 have also developed MIS-C.
Anurag Agarwal, Professor, Pediatrics, Maulana Azad Medical College and Lok Nayak Hospital says most children who become infected by novel coronavirus have only mild illness, but in children who go on to develop MIS-C, some organs and tissues such as the heart, lungs, blood vessels, kidneys, digestive system, brain, skin or eyes, become severely swollen.
“Any child presenting with three days of fever with signs of at least two organ involvements, for instance, diarrhoea, vomiting, breathlessness, fatigue, rashes, conjunctivitis etc, with the history of Covid infection or contact to Covid patient, should report to a doctor immediately for further evaluation. The disease can present with varying severity from mild forms to life-threatening disease. The illness, if diagnosed on time, responds to therapy like steroids, IVIG (Intravenous immunoglobulin), low molecular weight heparin, among others, very well,” he says.
Seeing that most major hospitals of Delhi have reported such cases with varying severity, Agarwal says till date mortality has been less in such cases with some patients requiring intensive care and monitoring.
“At present, social distancing and using masks to avoid Covid infections are the only way of preventing the development of this syndrome,” he adds. Manish Mannan, HOD, Paediatrics & Neonatology, Paras Hospitals Gurugram says it is crucial for parents to identify the problem early.
“So, if anybody is having high grade fever, they should consult the pediatrician early, preferably on the first or second day. If we diagnose the disease early and intervene early, the treatment needed is less. And the morbidity is also less. The longer you wait, the greater the morbidity,” he says.
Mannan also noted that there have been incidents of children, who were no symptoms or had mild COVID-19 were developing MIS-C.
“I have seen so many households wherein the parents have got their tests done, but they left out the child thinking he had mild or no COVID symptoms. The child, however, developed MIS-C in three to four weeks,” he says.
It was also recently seen that parents of two children who were admitted in the hospital had no clue that when their kids were infected with COVID-19, said officials. But both of them had significant symptoms of MIS-C and had to be admitted and treated. Therefore, parents should immediately get any fever of their child checked as most of the cases of MIS-C can lead to hospital admission.
“So every fever in today’s time should be suspected, unless proven otherwise, as prevention is better than cure,” he adds. Sudip Chowdhury, consultant paediatrician, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, Gurgaon also says that MIS-C is on the rise among children.
“In the last five days, over 100 cases of multi-organ inflammatory syndrome in children were reported in northern India, of which, more than 50 cases were found in the NCR,” he says.
It has also been seen that younger patients have more severe forms of illness as compared to the ones in the first wave of COVID-19, he adds.