First Wisconsin cases of rare, COVID-19-related syndrome suspected in Milwaukee

Published: May. 29, 2020 at 8:17 AM CDT
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Wisconsin’s first suspected cases of a rare inflammatory disease that has affected children who were infected with or exposed to COVID-19 has been reported at a Milwaukee pediatric hospital.

On Friday, Children’s Wisconsin announced multiple cases believed to be Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) had been identified. Hospital officials say seven cases dating back to April 2020 are under review.

"We understand that this is a newly identified syndrome and the symptoms can be severe," said Michael Gutzeit, the Chief Medical Officer at Children's Wisconsin. "it’s important to remember that the vast majority of kids recover with brief hospital stays and in some cases no hospital stays is required."

According to the hospital, MIS-C causes swelling in varying organs, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. It has been known to cause a persistent high fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, and red eyes and tongue.

Doctors say some patients have the COVID-19 antibodies but are not currently testing positive for the virus.

"This suggests to us that this is us likely not infectious as so much as a post-infectious complication," said Frank Zhu, the Children's Wisconsin Medical Director for Infection Control and Prevention.

MIS-C was first identified in late April and early May. Since then Children’s Wisconsin created a team to help children who start to show signs of it.