NEW JERSEY – With 23 cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) reported in New Jersey, the Department of Health reminds parents to watch for symptoms of this rare illness that may be associated with COVID-19. Pediatricians and other clinicians should submit reports to the state Department of Health.
Symptoms include fever, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, red or pink eyes, red cracked lips or red tongue that looks like a strawberry, swollen hands and feet that may also be red, sluggishness or irritability, abdominal pain, and an enlarged lymph node (gland) on one side of the neck. A factsheet for parents is available here.
Health care providers have noted that this inflammatory syndrome can also be characterized by severe inflammation of the heart, blood vessels, the gastrointestinal tract, or other organs, believed to be caused by a reaction to the coronavirus. The syndrome has features like Kawasaki disease and Toxic-Shock Syndrome.
“Parents should watch for symptoms of this illness in their children and contact a health care provider immediately so the child can be tested for COVID-19,” Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said. “Children with this syndrome may require intensive hospital care. It is important that parents take steps to prevent children from being exposed to COVID-19. Physical distancing from others, using face coverings, and practicing good hand hygiene are the best ways to prevent COVID-19.”
The 23 children range in age from 1 to 18. All have been hospitalized; 15 have been discharged, five remain hospitalized and the hospitalization status of three is unknown at this time. Ten of the children are male, nine are female and the sex of four is unknown as this time. All children have tested positive for COVID-19 on a PCR or serology test.
Cases were reported in 11 counties: Bergen, Camden, Cumberland, Mercer and Monmouth each have one case; Hudson (2), Middlesex (5), Ocean (2), and Essex, Passaic and Union each have 3.
The Department initially sent a “call for cases” alert to New Jersey clinicians on May 7 and follow up information was provided on May 16 .
Early recognition of the syndrome by pediatricians and specialists is essential. Clinicians should report suspect cases to local health departments and to submit a case report to the state Health Department.
For information on COVID-19, visit the Department of Health’s COVID-19 Innovation Hub.