SHELBY TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The mother of a Shelby Township boy who contracted the mysterious syndrome affecting children around the country said her son was perfectly fine and then suddenly had a fever, pneumonia and many other symptoms.
The government is on alert for cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, which is believed to be connected to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention is expected to ask doctors will be asked to look out for the syndrome and treat affected patients quickly.
Doctors in at least 17 states, including Michigan, are reporting cases of “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome."
So far, doctors in Michigan have identified about 20-25 cases of the syndrome, but they’re worried there could be more.
Levi Nobles, a 7-year-old boy from Shelby Township, just celebrated his birthday April 26. Later that week, his family went to their cabin.
“He was out,” his mother, Hannah Peck, said. “We went fishing. It was perfectly fine, perfectly normal. On Saturday, early in the morning, he woke up throwing up, had a high fever. We didn’t really think anything of it.”
But when those symptoms lasted for four days, Peck took her son to see his doctor.
“He started developing really severe abdominal pain, which at that point they thought was appendicitis,” Peck said. “We found out that he had pneumonia and his lungs were filled with fluid. His blood pressure dropped really low, and they sent him to the pediatric intensive care unit.”
Doctors at Beaumont Royal Oak suspected Levi was suffering from the newly identified syndrome.
“He did three COVID-19 tests, swab tests,” Peck said. “Every single one of them came back negative. Then, as we were walking out of the room, they told us that he had tested positive for the antibodies.”
Peck said she was shocked.
“He has not gone anywhere, hasn’t been around anybody, hasn’t done anything, so I’m, like, ‘Where could you have gotten it? When did he have it?’” she said.
Levi never showed any symptoms of COVID-19, his mother said.
She is urging other parents to be on guard for symptoms of the inflammatory syndrome and do everything they can to reduce their children’s risk of exposure to the coronavirus.
“That was the scariest thing for me was that, you know, he can have heart damage from this,” Peck said. “I’m thankful that he -- that wasn’t what it was, and that he did end up coming out of the hospital and he’s OK.”
Experts said parents don’t need to panic if their child gets PMIS, but they need to be aware and keep an eye out for the symptoms -- a fever lasting more than two days, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, red eyes, a rash and red, cracked lips.
It’s very important to seek treatment quickly because the syndrome can progress rapidly, doctors said.
The CDC alert will help raise awareness about the syndrome among doctors. The initial symptoms wouldn’t generally ring alarm bells in children, but that has to change and children will need further evaluation, officials said.