Doctors on alert for mysterious syndrome in children believed to be linked to COVID-19

CDC to warn of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome

DETROIT – The government is expected to ask doctors to be on alert for a mysterious illness in children that’s believed to be connected to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

A new warning from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is also expected. Doctors will be asked to look out for the syndrome and treat affected patients quickly.

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Doctors in at least 17 states, including Michigan, are reporting cases of “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome."

The CDC is expected to detail the potential symptoms to watch out for and urge doctors to report any cases they threat.

Beaumont Dr. Bishara Freij, who has treated three cases in the area, wants to make sure the syndrome is on everyone’s radar.

“We’ve had a cluster of three children that came really within 24 hours of each other, ranging in age from seven years to 13 years,” Freij said.

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Freij is the chief of pediatric infectious disease at Beaumont Children’s Hospital.

“They were very sick,” Freij said. “All three of them were very sick, and they were progressing rapidly. That is the worst part of it.”

All three children were previously health, but doctors said they discovered two of the patients had developed dilated coronary arteries. The third patient had massive inflammation of his intestines, they said.

Two of the children tested positive for COVID-19, while the third had antibodies to the virus.

The initial symptoms to watch out for include a fever lasting more than two days, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, red eyes, a rash and red, cracked lips.

Freij said parents should not panic if their child shows these symptoms, but they should be proactive.

“If this were a year ago, these would be viral -- just watch, let me know if something changes,” Freij said. “The game has changed now, and people have to jump on it sooner -- parents and physicians.

“Early treatment makes a lot of difference. If you get them before there is too much damage, you can reverse it more easily. They can have less days in the intensive care unit.”

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All three of the children at Beaumont are recovering, doctors said.

So far, the syndrome appears to be rare, but it’s something all parents should be on guard for because it is potentially very serious, experts said.

Doctors are learning more about the coronavirus every day, and this syndrome is another piece of a very large puzzle.

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