A new report on multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children ruled out one of three deaths previously associated with MIS-C in New York by health officials.
The New England Journal of Medicine released its findings Monday on a study of 99 young patients reported to meet New York's definition of MIS-C between a two month period ending May 10. Among those findings, researchers believe the death of a teenage girl from Suffolk County was not a result of the syndrome.
The study focused on patient demographics as well as underlying health conditions and symptoms. The New York Department Health Department says it collaborated with the University of Albany School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control to complete the study.
"This landmark study links COVID-19 and MIS-C and will help healthcare professionals throughout the country diagnose this condition in their patients," said Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker.
Researchers behind the study say a higher incidence of MIS-C among Black and Hispanic children may reflect of the "well-documented elevated incidence of COVID-19 infection among Black and Hispanic communities." They also found that Kawasaki-like symptoms were more prevalent in younger children than adolescents.
According to data published by the New York Health Department on Friday, there were 225 reported cases experiencing symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome, possibly due to COVID-19.
The cases span a wide age demographic, affecting infants to young adults, though most cases are in kids age 1 to 14. Three children in New York have died. Ninety-four percent of the kids displaying symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 or its antibodies.
Children have been less affected by COVID than adults overall; people younger than 20 account for just 1 percent of New York's total hospitalizations. But the emergence of the syndrome has prompted the medical community to rethink how it looks at COVID and kids.
Patients may start with symptoms similar to that of Kawasaki disease – with a fever, rash, conjunctivitis, abdominal pain and diarrhea for many – but then the condition may quickly worsen in a manner similar to toxic shock syndrome. Some children who the I-Team has documented have appeared to be showing only slight symptoms, but within days — if not hours — had their conditions worsen dramatically, leaving them in a coma and on a ventilator.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has put out a comprehensive fact sheet for parents and launched a citywide ad blitz advising them of the symptoms. Cuomo, meanwhile, told hospitals to prioritize COVID-19 testing for kids who present with them.
The CDC issued a recent health alert to physicians providing them with diagnostic guidance. The diagnostic criteria for MIS-C include a fever of at least 100.4 degrees for at least 24 hours, evidence of inflammation in the body and hospitalization with problems in at least two organs (such as the heart, the kidneys or the lungs). The CDC also requires a positive test for COVID-19, the antibodies, or a known exposure within four weeks before symptom onset.