The first two cases of a rare disease affecting children, called Multisystem Inflammatory Disease in Children (MIS-C) that may be linked with Covid-19, have been successfully treated in Bangladesh, according to a physician of Evercare Hospital (formerly Apollo) in Dhaka.
“MIS-C or Pediatric Multi system Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) was first identified at the Evercare Hospital in Dhaka on May 15,” said a press release from the hospital on Saturday.
The patients were a 3-and-a-half-month-old girl and a boy who was 2 years and 2 months old, the release said, adding that "These are the first reported cases in the country."
Both children presented with high fever of 102 to 105 ° F for 5 and 7 days respectively and had diarrhea, congested eyes, red lips, and mild swelling of feet.
Dr M Quamrul Hassan, senior consultant of Paediatrics and Dr Tahera Nazrin, consultant, Paediatric Cardiologist along with the paediatric and intensive care team, diagnosed and treated the two cases achieving positive outcomes, the release said.
The older, male child experienced convulsions and went on to suffer from swelling of heart chambers, low blood pressure and heart failure. He also tested positive for Covid-19 in an RT-PCR test.
Although the girl had tested negative, her family members all tested positive soon after. The male child required treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
However, both patients had to be closely monitored and were given Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) – a mixture of antibodies, prepared from the blood plasma of healthy donors, which can help fight infection and inflammation.
They were discharged from the hospital as their conditions stabilized and improved significantly following treatment.
During the ongoing pandemic, parents should be wary of this rare but dangerous new phenomenon alongside preventing their children from contracting the noxious virus.
It is important to be aware of how this disease manifests and what we can do to prevent it from affecting our children, the release said.
The press release from Evercare Hospital also said that previously, it was thought children are less likely to be affected, with 11.8% and 4.2% of all affected people in Bangladesh being below the age of 20 and 10 years, respectively.
Yet, clinical reports from the United States and Europe suggest there was a new clinical syndrome linked with Covid-19 that children are particularly susceptible to.
The first cases were reported by the United Kingdom on April 26, 2020 followed by the United States, France, Switzerland, South Korea, and India.
MIS-C can cause widespread inflammation restricting blood flow and damaging multiple organs like the heart, kidney, and liver. Its features are similar to that of Kawasaki disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome.
The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States has suggested there is a correlation between COVID-19 and MIS-C.
Evidence from positive antibody tests indicate numerous children with MIS-C had been affected by Covid-19 in the past, some even without showing any symptoms of it.
Still, children can have the active virus, which can be detected using a swab from the back of the nose or throat, and develop MIS-C symptoms at the same time.
What are the symptoms of MIS-C?
High fever that persists for more than 3-5 days, severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting, red bloodshot eyes, skin rashes, changes in skin color, chest pain, trouble breathing, fatigue are symptoms of MIS-C while in the case of infants it gets difficult to feed them.
Who is affected by MIS-C?
Despite this disease being more common in children, there have been reports of young adults being affected.
Children and young adults under the age of 21 can suffer from this condition.
Due to its supposed link with Covid-19, those near to individuals affected by Covid-19 may be more susceptible.
However, it is not necessary for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to be active at the time or for patients to show Covid-19 symptoms for them to be diagnosed with MIS-C.
Can MIS-C be treated?
Yes, this condition can be treated, and it is essential to seek medical help immediately if any of the symptoms mentioned above are detected in children or young adults.
It cannot be managed at home as it requires close monitoring of vital organs and may even require ICU facilities.
Therefore, parents must stay alert and look out for such signs affecting their children’s health.
How to prevent children from getting MIS-C?
Given its correlation with Covid-19, the best way to prevent children from getting MIS-C is to reduce their chances of exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
This can be done by ensuring they avoid contact with individuals with suspected or confirmed Covid-19, wear face masks, maintain social distance from others, wash hands frequently and stay clean.
MIS-C itself, however, is not a contagious disease so it cannot be spread from child to child.
In case MIS-C symptoms do appear in a child, it is vital that medical help is sought immediately, and the child is transferred to a hospital.
There is still limited knowledge on this disease but experts around the world are working to gather evidence and understand it better.
Evercare is an integrated healthcare delivery platform operating in growth markets across Africa and South Asia, including Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Kenya and Nigeria.