WATCH: Infectious disease specialist at Richmond children’s hospital talks about what we know about multisystem inflammatory syndrome


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dr. Emily Godbout, an epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, spoke with 8News about cases of a coronavirus-linked child multisystem inflammatory illness. More than 20 states have reported cases, including Virginia.

Dr. Godbout addressed what we know about the rare inflammatory condition and symptoms parents should look out for in a conversation with 8News anchor John Rogers on May 22.

Rogers: Could we see more of this and what do parents need to be aware of?

Dr. Godbout: “On May 14, the Centers for Disease Control actually came out with more information on this inflammatory syndrome. They gave it a name, the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children associated with coronavirus. And they also laid out a framework for clinicians on how to diagnose this condition. So, you are correct, there was a case in northern Virginia. But from what I’ve heard this is someone who has been discharged from the hospital and is doing well.”

“So, I do anticipate that we may hear more about this syndrome in our local area. I think there is a lot of information there right now about it, so physicians are looking for this. But also, what we know about it, it’s sort of a delayed, it’s not due to the active infection but potentially, a delayed immune response. So, sometimes you can see a delay after an infection. So, we still don’t know exactly if COVID-19 is the cause of it, but we know that a lot of children that have this syndrome did previously have the virus. It can be very serious, but a lot of the children that have been diagnosed from this have actually gotten better with medical care.”

Rogers: Do these symptoms appear at the same time as COVID-19 or sometime after? When do we start seeing these symptoms?

Dr. Godbout: “Traditionally with a COVID-19 infection, you have signs or symptoms of upper respiratory infections. You might have fever, runny nose, cough, cold-like symptoms. With this inflammatory process, it could potentially happen three to four weeks after and you have different symptoms. More like high fevers that are sustained, possibly for four or more days, along with other symptoms such as potentially rash, red eyes, swelling of the hands and feet and severe belly pain.”

“Again, we do believe that of all of the children that have been infected with COVID-19 or will be potentially infected with COVID-19, that this inflammatory syndrome will still make up a small percentage of children.”

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