Most children with a serious inflammatory disease associated with coronavirus had original COVID-19 infections with no symptoms or only mild ones, new US research shows.
The unusual condition after infection tends to be milder in children who were sicker with COVID-19, although more than half of the affected adolescents received intensive hospital treatment, according to an analysis of the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published Tuesday in JAMA Pediatrics.
The study represents the largest analysis to date of U.S. cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and strengthens evidence that it is a delayed immune response to COVID-1
Upticks in cases have occurred two to five weeks after COVID-19 peaks and have followed the spread of initial infections from city to country, the researchers said. Recent CDC data indicate that there is another growing peak in the pediatric condition that is consistent with this trend.
The CDC’s website shows that the state reported cases through March 29, a total of 3,185 and included 36 deaths. Government reports are not always timely, so it is uncertain how many American children have developed the disease since the study ended.
Most children who had COVID-19 do not develop the disease after infection. Nearly 3.5 million American children and teens have tested positive for COVID-19, according to data collected by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.
The condition was first reported in Europe in late winter and spring last year. Some cases, especially those that follow quiet, undiagnosed COVID-19 infections, can be confused with Kawasaki disease, a rare condition that can cause red skin, swelling and heart problems.
Dr. Sean O’Leary, vice president of the Pediatric Academy’s Infectious Diseases Committee, said the inflammatory condition typically causes children to become very ill very quickly, but that most ” respond very well to treatment, and the vast majority get better. ”
Treatments may include steroids and other drugs that can reduce inflammation.
The best way to prevent this is to prevent COVID-19 infections, ” which vaccines are very good to do, ” he said. COVID-19 vaccine studies in children are ongoing.
In the CDC analysis, fever was among the most common symptoms. Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and red skin rash occurred in at least half of the affected children. Nearly one-third had heart inflammation or other heart involvement. These symptoms were least common among children up to 4 years of age, who were also less likely to require intensive care than older children.
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