UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Pediatrics

Title: Pediatric Covid-19 Infection

Posted: 5/29/2020 by Rose Chasm, MD (Updated: 6/14/2024)
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  • Although significant data has been accumulated regarding Covid-19 infection in adults, the epidemiologic characters and clinical course descriptions in the pediatric population lags.
  • Studies to date report that children have mild self-limiting disease with low mortality, even in Immunocompromised children.
  • Less than half have fever.
  • However, recent reports of a severe illness similar to Kawasaki Disease and/or toxic shock syndrome have led to the newly dubbed Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C)
  • MIS-C CDC Criteria: <21 years of age, laboratory evidence of inflammation, clinically severe illness requiring hospitalization with multisystem involvement, no alternative diagnosis, and positive Covid-19 test or exposure within 4 weeks of presentation.
  • MIS-C seems to spare infants and toddlers, and is mostly described in school aged and adolescent groups.
  • MIS-C often begins with fever and GI symptoms (mild vague abdominal pain,diarrhea and/or vomiting). 
  • Telltale presentation of an erythematous rash that spares the limbs and is associated with conjunctival injection.  Hence the initial misdiagnosis of Kawasaki and Toxic Shock in the first reported cases.
  • MIS-C patients quickly decompensate to severe shock that is often refractory to typical treatments.
  • Providers should have a higher index of suspicion for MIS-C in any child who presents with concern for Covid-19 infection with these symptoms, and especially with abnormal vital signs. Closer monitoring of heart rate and blood pressure, which is often neglected is vital.


Spanish Peditric Academy

AAP News

BMJ 2020;369:m1802

NEJM 2020; 382:1663-1665