AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A few months into the Coronavirus pandemic, a post-COVID condition was discovered in children. MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children) is a rare complication that appears 2-6 weeks after COVID.

MIS-C is accompanied by a prolonged fever and causes swelling of different body parts.

Pediatric infectious disease physician at Augusta University Health, Dr. Jim Wilde, says MIS-C is often mistaken for Kawasaki disease.

“Initially, it looked like they had a rash of Kawasaki disease, which is another childhood disease that we see relatively frequently,” Dr. Wilde said. “It looked very much like Kawasaki’s, but it was not. And that’s when they realized there was a new entity here that was mimicking Kawasaki’s.”  

Kawasaki disease in not COVID-related, and strikes kids at a much younger age, while MIS-C affects children in the 5-15-year-old age range who have tested positive for COVID.

MIS-C causes inflammation in organs such as the heart, lungs, eyes, skin, and brain.

“This is a really, really sick child that you’re looking at,” Dr. Wilde said. “In fact, the CDC definition requires the child is sick enough to be admitted to the hospital before you can even make the diagnosis. Kids who just have a fever and a runny nose and cough, and are not that sick, would not meet the case definition  for MIS-C.”

The World Health Organization says to meet the criteria, a child must have three or more days of high fever, and symptoms like an altered state of mind, shock, kidney problems, or skin rash.

“One of the critical criteria is you have to have at least some evidence that you’ve had a COVID infection in the last 2-4 weeks,” Dr. Wilde said. “If there’s no evidence of a COVID infection in the last 2-4 weeks, we’re not even looking in the direction of MIS-C.”

Dr. Wilde says MIS-C is rare, and most kids typically make a full recovery after being treated.

“MIS-C, first of all, is relatively rare,” Dr. Wilde said. “COVID itself is usually not real severe in children. The number of children who get MIS-C after COVID infection is really small, and the number of children who have MIS-C and have a bad outcome is extremely small. So this is not a major alarm for parents.”