CDC: COVID-19 complication seen in kids is now found in adults

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Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Adults, or MIS-A, can be fatal, CDC warns

In May, doctors announced they were seeing a new and rare coronavirus complication in children. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta warns, it’s appearing in adults, too.

Called MIS-C, which stands for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, the complication manifests roughly two to four weeks after a coronavirus infection. Experts suspect that children who develop this syndrome were exposed to the virus and that their bodies mounted an exaggerated immune response, the AJC’s Helena Oliviero wrote.

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Symptoms are similar to toxic shock and Kawasaki disease: fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, heart inflammation.

Since June, several case reports have described a similar syndrome in adults. The CDC’s review describes 27 patients who had cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, dermatologic and neurologic symptoms without severe respiratory illness and who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Much like MIS-C, Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Adults — MIS-A — appeared two to five weeks after COVID-19.

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The 16 people studied by the CDC ranged in age from 21 to 50; nine were women. Five were reported as Hispanic, nine as African American, one as Asian and one as a United Kingdom–born man of African ethnicity. Nine patients had no reported underlying medical conditions; six were obese; one had poorly controlled diabetes mellitus type 2; two had hypertension; and one had obstructive sleep apnea. Eight patients had documented respiratory illness before developing symptoms of MIS-A.

Ten patients required intensive care, and two patients died, the CDC reported.

Another similarity to MIS-C and COVID-19, the CDC found, was that MIS-A disproportionately affects minorities.

“All but one of the patients with MIS-A described in this report belonged to racial or ethnic minority groups. Long-standing health and social inequities have resulted in increased risk for infection and severe outcomes from COVID-19 in communities of color,” the CDC report states. “MIS-C has also been reported disproportionately in these communities. Because patients described in this review represent a convenience sample from a small number of jurisdictions, conclusions cannot be made regarding the true burden or determinants of MIS-A in different groups; further research is needed.”

The CDC’s conclusion is not only the need for more research, but also that “the recognition of MIS-A reinforces the need for prevention efforts to limit spread of SARS-CoV-2.”

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