Coronavirus-linked syndrome in children, MIS-C: Cases growing

On December 27 last year, 15-year-old Braden Wilson was rushed to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles from his home in nearby Simi Valley.

He was bleeding heavily from a surgery wound following an operation 18 days earlier.

Everything seemed fine and he was released from hospital on December 29, ready to celebrate a quiet New Year’s Eve with his family.

But on December 31, Braden started to display COVID-19 symptoms. A test revealed he was infected with the virus.

On January 2, Braden was rushed back to hospital. This time, he was having trouble breathing. His heart, lungs and kidneys were all inflamed, family members say.

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Within three days, the intelligent, caring teen loved by all who knew him was tragically dead.

“They officially said he was brain dead,” the boy’s mother, Amanda Wilson, told the New York Times.

“My boy was gone.”

The Ventura County Star reports that Braden died from complications associated with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.

Sadly, he is one of 30 children who have died from MIS-C in the US since the pandemic began — a figure that is increasing at a worrying rate.

According to the Center for Diseases Control and Prevention, there have been 30 deaths and 2060 identified cases of MIS-C since May last year.

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The CDC notes that “most cases were in children and adolescents between the ages of 1 and 14 years, with a median age of 9 years”, and “69 per cent of cases have occurred in children who are Hispanic or Latino (690 cases) or Black, Non-Hispanic (600 cases)”.

Slightly more than half of all cases were in young boys.

“We’re now getting more of these MIS-C kids, but this time, it just seems that a higher percentage of them are really critically ill,” Dr Roberta DeBiasi, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, told the Times .

Tara Floyd, the head nurse in paediatric ICU at the same hospital, told NPR that MIS-C is being seen weeks after COVID-19 infection.

“Especially in these cases where you have a child go from previously healthy to something like what you see here, that’s terrifying for people,” she said.

“This is probably our busiest we’ve been in the ICU. I think we’re into the thirties of kids just since the first of the year. They’re coming in sicker. We don’t know why that’s true.

“But before, about half the kids who come to us would need MIS-C, and now it’s about 90 per cent coming to us.”

Dena Grayson, a medical doctor who became a powerful voice in the fight against COVID-19 in the US last year, shared her concerns on social media.

“Instead of targeting lungs, MIS-C causes inflammation throughout the body and can damage the heart,” she wrote.

“It typically appears weeks after infection in school-age children who did NOT experience any classic #coronavirus symptoms.”

She wrote that the rate of MIS-C cases has been increasing since mid-October as the US entered winter.

“While most kids, even those who were seriously ill, have survived and gone home relatively healthy, it’s uncertain whether any will experience lingering heart issues or other problems,” Dr Grayson wrote.

“These are young kids”.

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And they are young kids with families left devastated by the sudden loss.

Braden’s mother wrote a poem about her son.

It reads:

Now your heart no longer beats, and I can’t hold you in my arms;

But I remember back to those days, when my womb protected you from harm;

You lived a life of beauty, of laughter, and of grace;

I hold you now inside my heart, we’ll always share that space.

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