NEW YORK - A mystery inflammatory condition that has affected dozens of children in New York has been reported in kids in New Jersey and Connecticut as well. The vascular condition, which doctors in New York have dubbed pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, or PMIS, preliminarily appears to be linked to coronavirus infections and mimics the symptoms of Kawasaki disease.
New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said that hospitals in New Jersey reported 18 cases of a new inflammatory syndrome in children between the ages of 3 and 18 as of Wednesday morning. Health authorities are probing the cases, which are in Bergen, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Passaic, Union, and Warren counties.
"Of the ones that were reported that we've been able to investigate for tested positive for COVID-19," Persichilli said. "So there will be more reporting on that as the CDC identifies a case definition and we finish our case investigations."
At least five children in Connecticut are being treated for what appears to be the same inflammatory response. Yale Health said it is treating three children. Connecticut Children's Medical Center identified two patients and possibly a third, the AP reported.
"This is still a rare complication of COVID-19," Dr. Juan Salazar, the physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, said, according to the AP. "It's not something every parent should be panicking about."
The syndrome appears to emerge several weeks after a child has gone through a coronavirus infection, often without showing any COVID-19 symptoms. The symptoms of this post-COVID syndrome may include a persistent fever of at least four days, abdominal pain that is often severe, vomiting, diarrhea, a rash that spreads over the body and may reach the hands and feet, swollen hands with peeling of the skin, and enlarged lymph nodes, doctors have reported.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified about the COVID-19 pandemic to U.S. senators on Tuesday. He mentioned the emergence of this condition, calling it "a very strange inflammatory syndrome."
"I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects [of COVID-19," Fauci told lawmakers. "But I am very careful and hopefully humble in knowing that I don't know everything about this disease and that's why I'm very reserved and making broad predictions."
In New York, at least 102 children have been treated for PMIS and three have died, including a 5-year-old boy in New York City, a 7-year-old boy in Westchester County, and an 18-year-old female on Long Island.
With The Associated Press