DENVER – 29 cases have now been confirmed in Colorado of a still-mysterious inflammatory syndrome in children and young adults believed to be an after-effect of the virus that causes COVID-19, public health officials said Wednesday.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) said that Colorado hospitals reported the highest number of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) in December than had been reported so far in the entire pandemic.
The department said the data is similar to the increase in COVID-1
Public health officials and researchers are still working to find out more about the syndrome, which most commonly occurs in children who have had COVID-19 or been exposed to someone who had the virus. But CDPHE said the official cause of MIS-C is still not determined.
The department first warned about MIS-C back in May when three children were confirmed to have the syndrome. In July, two people had died of MIS-C – deaths that the state said took place in the spring.
CDPHE said Wednesday that there have been no further deaths associated with the syndrome, which generally affects children ages 5-15, but has been found in young adults up to the age of 20 – including a 20-year-old from Boulder County, the local public health department. identified in October.
With some Colorado school children on their way back to the classroom and several districts hoping they can start that process soon, CDPHE’s chief physician said it was time to remind people that the syndrome can occur in children who often have either mild cases of COVID-19 or who are asymptomatic.
“There is still a lot we do not know about MIS-C, and the remarkable increase in the number of cases is a clear reminder that our children are also at risk of serious complications from COVID-19,” said CDPHE Chief Medical Officer Dr . Eric France. “As personal learning resumes, it is important that students continue to take measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, such as masking, physical distance exercise, hand washing and staying home when they are ill.”
Symptoms associated with MIS-C include inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal tract as well as fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, bloodshot eyes and more.
CDPHE said that parents of children who show symptoms should contact their child’s healthcare provider and seek emergency care for life-threatening symptoms that emerge, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, inability to stay awake, blue lips or faces, or severe abdominal pain.
The department also recommends that children of all ages be tested for COVID-19 if they show symptoms.