DENVER – There have now been 29 cases confirmed in Colorado of a still-mysterious inflammatory syndrome seen in children and young adults that is believed to be an after-effect of the virus that causes COVID-19, state public health officials said Wednesday.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) said that Colorado hospitals reported the highest number of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in December than had been reported thus far throughout the pandemic.
The department said that data corresponds with the spike in COVID-19 cases the state saw during October and November and that it expects the number of cases to grow as the CDC continues to review possible December cases.
Public health officials and scientists are still working to find out more about the syndrome, which most often appears in children who have had COVID-19 or been exposed to someone who had the virus. But the CDPHE said that the official cause of MIS-C has still not been determined.
The department first warned about MIS-C back in May, when three children were confirmed to have the syndrome. By July, two people had died from MIS-C – deaths which the state said occurred in the spring.
The CDPHE said Wednesday there have been no further deaths linked with the syndrome, which generally affects children ages 5-15 but has been found in young adults up to age 20 – including a 20-year-old from Boulder County the local public health department identified in October.
With some Colorado schoolchildren heading back to the classroom, and more districts hopeful they can start that process soon, the CDPHE’s chief medical officer said it was time to remind people that the syndrome can occur in children who often have either mild cases of COVID-19 or who are asymptomatic.
“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 CDPHE Chief Medical Officer Dr. Eric France. “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.”
Symptoms associated with MIS-C include inflammation of the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes or gastrointestinal system, as well as fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, rashes, bloodshot eyes and more.
The CDPHE said parents of children who are showing symptoms should contact their child’s health care provider and seek emergency care of life-threatening symptoms pop up, like trouble breathing, chest pain, an inability to stay awake, blue lips or faces, or severe abdominal pain.
The department also recommends that children of all ages get tested for COVID-19 if they are showing symptoms.