CDPHE: Colorado reports record number of MIS-C cases in children

In December 2020, Colorado hospitals reported the highest number of reported Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) cases of any month since the COVID-19 pandemic began, which tracks with the rise in COVID-19 cases that occurred during October and November. Though research continues to show that children most often have asymptomatic or mild COVID-19 infection, there is still a risk for severe illness requiring hospitalization, including MIS-C. Colorado currently has 29 cases of MIS-C that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed, and we expect this number to grow as December cases continue to be reviewed– and compared alongside COVID-19 data. The state has had two MIS-C deaths, both reported in the spring of 2020. 

“There’s still a lot we don’t know about MIS-C and the notable increase in cases is a clear reminder that our children are also at risk of serious complications from COVID-19,” said Dr. Eric France, chief medical officer, CDPHE. “As in-person learning resumes, it’s important that students continue to take measures to decrease the spread of COVID-19, such as masking, practicing physical distancing, hand washing, and staying home when they are ill.”

MIS-C is a rare but serious condition where different parts of the body  can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. The cause of MIS-C has not yet been determined, but many children with MIS-C have either had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19 and likely undiagnosed. 

Parents and caregivers should contact their child’s health care provider if a child is showing symptoms of MIS-C, including fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. Parents and caregivers should seek emergency care immediately for potentially life-threatening symptoms of MIS-C including trouble breathing, chest pain, new confusion, inability to stay awake, blue lips or face, or severe abdominal pain.

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) continues to recommend that children of all ages be evaluated for COVID-19, including through testing, whenever they develop COVID-19 symptoms. Individuals who develop COVID-19 symptoms should be tested as soon as possible after symptoms develop.

Because in-person learning is a priority for our communities and is subject to potential COVID-19 transmission, it is important that children attending school be tested both when they develop symptoms of COVID-19 and following close contact with a COVID-19 case (even if asymptomatic). CDPHE recommends testing asymptomatic contacts of COVID-19 cases no sooner than 5 days after their last exposure and within 48 hours of the end of quarantine if using the test-based option to shorten quarantine. Symptomatic contacts should be tested as soon as possible following the onset of symptoms.

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CDPHE: Colorado reports record number of MIS-C cases in children