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Several children at Texas Children's Hospital have multisystem inflammatory syndrome linked to COVID-19

The rare -- and sometimes deadly -- mystery illness linked to the coronavirus has affected hundreds of children across the country.

HOUSTON — Several young patients at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston are being treated for multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C). Some of the children are in critical condition.

A TCH spokeswoman confirmed there are some confirmed cases and other suspected ones.

This is the same rare mystery illness that has sickened hundreds of children and young adults across the country. A few of them didn't survive.

MIS-C is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, according to the CDC.

"We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, we know that many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19, or had been around someone with COVID-19," the CDC says on its website. "MIS-C can be serious, even deadly, but most children who were diagnosed with this condition have gotten better with medical care."

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“The MIS-C that’s been discussed has been in our literature and our thinking for less than six weeks so that’s not a lot of time for us physicians to really have our bearings straight,” said Dr. Eyal Muscal, chief of rheumatology at Texas Children’s Hospital.

The kids with the condition have an immune response that’s too strong. Their heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin and eyes may become inflamed as a result.

The CDC says it can be serious, and even deadly, but most kids get better with medical care.

“Some of the hypotheses are that children, often older teenagers, not young children, seem to have after having an exposure and not being sick with the virus itself,” Muscal said.

Muscal said it’s mainly being seen in kids over the age of 10 but says it can possibly affect children of all ages.

KHOU 11 asked Texas Children’s Hospital how many patients it has treated for the condition. The hospital would not give a number, but said “several.”

The Houston Health Department says there have been no cases in the city so far.

 Texas Children's released the following statement: 

The hospital has a multidisciplinary team of experts, including cardiologists, rheumatologists, critical care and infectious disease physicians, among others, who are uniquely suited to care for these patients due to their vast expertise in treating more than 100 children with Kawasaki disease each year.

The symptoms of MIS-C mirror many of the characteristics of Kawasaki disease, including high fever, rash on the chest, back and abdomen, red eyes or conjunctivitis, swelling and inflammation of the mouth, lips and throat, enlarged lymph glands in the neck, and redness and swelling of the hands and feet. Important distinctions between MIS-C and classic Kawasaki disease are the fact that MIS-C does seem to affect older children, and abdominal pain appears to be common in those with MIS-C.

As Texas Children’s experts and their colleagues across the world continue to learn more about this new consequence of COVID-19, we encourage parents to call their pediatrician if their child exhibits these symptoms. Texas Children’s highest priority remains the health and safety of those we serve. We will continue to keep the community at-large informed, while also respecting the privacy rights of our patients. In order to combat the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses, Texas Children’s also continues various precautionary measures – including universal screening and social distancing – across our health care system in Houston and Austin to limit contact exposure and ensure the safety of our patients, their families and our team members.

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