Surge of rare COVID-related syndrome reported at Children’s Hospital of Richmond


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is reporting a surge in cases of a rare COVID-19 related complication in children. Last month, 15 kids were hospitalized at the same time with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C). That’s the hospital’s highest peak since the pandemic started, according to VCU Health officials.

Before this peak, they said just two or three children would be hospitalized with the syndrome at the same time.

MIS-C has worried doctors since last April when it was first discovered. Experts say the average age of kids affected is 9-years-old and it can attack anyone — both children with underlying conditions or otherwise perfectly healthy children. Adults are not immune, either.

“It’s worrisome. We don’t want to see kids coming into the hospital,” said Dr. Tiffany Kimbrough, Director of the Children’s Hospital’s Mother-Infant Unit.

She said MIS-C can occur in children two to six weeks after recovering from a mild or asymptomatic battle with COVID-19. Dr. Kimbrough said kids get symptoms like fever, trouble breathing, abdominal pain, vomiting, “and can progress to full shock very quickly.”

“A lot of these children need full ICU level of care,” she said.

The doctor said thankfully, no children with MIS-C have died on their watch.

VDH is reporting just over 100 cases statewide, but Dr. Kimbrough said there has to be a lag in that reporting because her Children’s Hospital alone has seen 50 cases since the pandemic began. Their peak was in mid-October, when 15 kids were hospitalized at the same time.

8News asked Dr. Kimbrough what she attributes the surge in cases to. She blamed the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19, kids being back in school, sports, and “relaxing some of the infection control measures” overall.

She said among the cases they’ve seen, a majority of the children affected are kids of color.

Despite the “concerning” numbers last month, her staff is hopeful for the months ahead.

“We’re all hoping that we’ll see kids get vaccinated and that will help us to see less MIS-C in our kids since we’ll see less infection in this age group,” Dr. Kimbrough said.

The doctor said the best way to prevent your child from ending up with this is to get them vaccinated if they’re eligible. In addition, she said people should stay COVID-cautious in their daily lives.

If your child is complaining of severe belly pain, having trouble breathing, pale or blue-colored skin, confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, medical professionals say you should go straight to an ER.

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