Hundreds of children in Sweden have been hit hard by inflammatory reactions after having the coronavirus. In Lund, the children’s intensive care unit is now full.
The potentially life-threatening condition in which the immune system attacks its own body after COVID-19 is abbreviated to MIS-C in English.
In Norwegian, the condition can be translated as “multiorgan inflammatory syndrome in children.”
The rare syndrome can occur in children and adolescents after having the coronavirus, and several children in Norway have also received treatment for the condition.
“Patients can become seriously ill quickly, with high fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, and cardiogenic shock,” the Journal of the Norwegian Medical Association wrote in May last year.
Full intensive care unit
Children are initially mildly affected by COVID-19, and it is not the viral disease itself that causes the serious condition, but a late reaction in the immune system in a small minority of those who have been infected.
“We see that children who have had COVID, are affected by this inflammatory syndrome, MIS-C, three to six weeks after going through the infection,” chief physician Maria Mossberg at the pediatric clinic in Lund in Skåne in Sweden noted.
In Skåne, the hospitals have been under severe pressure for a long time with more and more adult coronavirus patients, but now the doctors warn that the children’s intensive care unit in Lund is also completely full due to the influx of children with acute treatment needs for MIS-C.
Failing heart function
In recent weeks, there have been six serious cases of MIS-C in Skåna, out of which four have received treatment in the intensive care unit.
Common symptoms include high fever, severe stomach pain, confusion, and failing heart function.
The affected children receive both medications that slow down the immune system’s attacks on their organs and advanced treatment that supports the organs that do happen to fail.
30 life-threatened patients in Sweden
“In total, around one hundred children have developed the condition MIS-C in Sweden, and the severity among them has been varied.
Around 30 have been life-threateningly ill and have needed intensive care,” pediatrician and immunologist at Karolinska Institutet Petter Brodin told the news agency TT.
“It has come as a second wave after the summer, and right now, we have quite a few children being treated for it (the condition). But we still have no deaths,” Brodin, who published a study on the condition together with a group of other researchers, noted.
Researchers now know that the condition is due to the body’s immune system attacking its own body one to two months later after the corona infection.
Several of the children have been completely symptom-free and have not noticed that they have been infected with COVID-19.
“These were previously completely healthy children,” Brodin added.
The situation in Norway
The condition has been compared to Kawasaki syndrome, which also affects the immune system in children.
In Norway, the National Institute of Public Health (FHI) has asked Norwegian pediatricians to be vigilant and warn of cases of this syndrome with a possible connection with COVID-19 on April 27.
Assistant health director Espen Rostrup Nakstad told newspaper Dagbladet in early November that the incidence of MIS-C is low but that the condition is serious for the children affected.
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