British Columbia health officials have identified the province’s first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a child that’s tied to coronavirus infection.
Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry didn’t release much information about the child to protect their privacy, but did say they were under five and tested positive for coronavirus by serology (indicating they’d been infected with the virus in the past).
Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) is a severe reaction to a viral infection and can look similar to Kawasaki syndrome, toxic shock syndrome, or macrophage activation syndrome. Symptoms include fever, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea, heart problems, and a rash.
Blood clotting can also be associated with MIS-C.
“We think, but we’re not entirely sure, that MIS-C and Kawasaki syndrome are associated with inflammatory processes that happen in the body, particularly blood vessels, after a person is infected with virus,” Henry said.
The province tracks individuals who have these symptoms, calling them persons under investigation. So far, 16 children have had symptoms of MIS-C, but they all tested negative for coronavirus.
This child, the 17th person, is the first to have a confirmed case of MIS-C tied to COVID-19.
Henry explained the inflammatory syndrome usually comes up several weeks after coronavirus infection.
She said this syndrome is an example of the way coronavirus can lead to severe outcomes for individuals, even if they’re in low-risk groups.
“We are still learning about this virus. We do not yet know if there will be long-term effects, even in people who have mild illness,” she said.