May 22, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The number of New York City children inflicted with a rare and potentially deadly illness linked to the coronavirus has risen to 89, according to the NYC Health Department.
The illness, which doctors have labeled Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome or (MIS-C), can cause inflammation of organs, leading to organ failure in children.
In total, 158 city children have been suspected of coming down with MIS-C since May 20, the Health Department said Thursday.
From those reports, 43 cases are still under investigation and 26 children did not meet the CDCs criteria of the syndrome.
Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said that the new syndrome is very alarming but the agency is working aggressively to ensure children get early care to help them make a full recovery.
“We have been reaching out to physicians and parents with information about MIS-C and will continue to thoroughly investigate cases reported to the Department,” she said.
The illness can be successfully treated if caught early and the department began an outreach initiative to the medical community on April 29 following reports of the new syndrome emanating from Europe.
The city has also launched an awareness campaign to alert parents of the symptoms of the illness. The campaign consists of running information advertisements at bus shelters, LinkNYC kiosks, local media, radio, TV and digital outlets
The syndrome is similar to toxic shock syndrome or Kawasaki disease, health experts say. If left untreated the condition can permanently damage a child’s heart.
A 5-year-old boy in New York City has already died from the illness and there have been two other deaths elsewhere in New York State.
The Health Dept. said that common MIS-C symptoms include fever, irritability or sluggishness, abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
Other symptoms include rash, red or pink eyes, enlarged lymph node (gland) on one side of the neck, red cracked lips or red tongue or swollen hands and feet.
Laboratory tests have revealed inflammation of the heart, kidneys and lungs associated with the syndrome. Neurologic systems, the skin and the gastrointestinal tract have also found to become inflamed in patients with the illness.