(CMC) – A senior medical official Monday warned that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases could result in an increase in the cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) in the coming days.
“MIS-C usually comes up about four to six weeks after the adult surge of COVID. So, we have seen our surge in May so we are expecting in late June to Early July there might be a possibility of some increased cases,” said Dr Joanne Paul, the medical chief of staff at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Centre.
She told the Ministry of Health news conference that there are currently 40 confirmed cases of the MIS-C in Trinidad and Tobago.
But she told reporters that the health sector is bracing for an increase in the number of cases.
She said in a recent conversation with Dr Ronan Ramroop, a paediatric cardiologist it was revealed that “as of today (there) is 40 confirmed MIS-C cases in Trinidad, we have 25 that are COVID PCR positive or antibody positive and we have 15 that are PCR or antibody negative.
“Remember that because MIS-C comes after COVID infection, it’s really an immune response to the infection so you might not be positive,” she said, adding there are “no deaths to date”.
Dr Paul said that the MIS-C presents similarly to severe COVID-19 in children, exhibiting symptoms linked to the brain, heart and bowel. In these severe cases, she said diarrhoea, vomiting, high heart rate, lethargy, paleness, confusion and drowsiness are also prevalent.
“Although we know that the majority of children do not have severe COVID, at least one per cent of them will be admitted to hospital with severe COVID so it is not unusual. The risk factors are less than two years old, in addition obesity, diabetes and genetic factors.
“The key thing to look out for is not like adults where they would have respiratory signs. They would have other symptoms, for instance GI or gastrointestinal, bowel. The first thing they will have is diarrhoea.
“We are looking at brain, heart and bowel, those three systems in particular are affected in children much more than respiratory. In severe COVID you will see those three systems affected and you will have to be aware of that,” Dr Paul told reporters.
But she noted that MIS-C includes these symptoms with additional symptoms of the mucus membrane, red eyes, red throat, red lips, tongue, red palms, red soles of the feet and COVID fingers or COVID toes.
“So, there will be blueish blackish marks almost like clots and also a rash anywhere. So, for the next few weeks, I am appealing to the guardians, the parents to make sure you have high awareness,” she said.
Dr Paul said that in cases where young people suddenly succumb to the virus this can be attributed to genetic risk factors and the virus’ effect on the lungs and the formation of blood clots. The symptoms of severe COVID-19 in children may also be present in young people.
“That is not just for children but for young people also you will have headaches and they will be affected. We may think to ourselves that only those with comorbidities, only those who are older may be affected, you can be so surprised by having a young person affected. If you look at the signs of it, although it is not common, they can also have genetic factors.
“With COVID-19 how it affects the lung lining to cause something called ARBS (angiotensin receptor blockers), it also affects clots. It produces small clots or large clots. When you have the small clots, those affect your oxygen levels so when we have low ones that may be a small clot formation. When we have a large clot that might lead to sudden death, so we still can have a few cases where young people are affected by severe COVID,” Dr Paul stated.