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Children Suffering From COVID-19-Linked Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome Identified In North Texas

NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Four new cases of a severe illness affecting children, linked to COVID-19, have been identified at Cook Children's Hospital. We're told he children range in age from six to 14.

"You may have cases that are so mild they never even show up on our doorstep, whereas you may have others that are in an ICU for multiple weeks," said Dr.Nicholas Rister, an infectious diseases physician at Cook Children's. Dr. Rister said there's still so much unknown about this Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. It resembles Kawasaki Disease, creating inflammation that can affect several organs, in some cases putting particular stress on the heart.

Symptoms include stomach pain, fever, and evidence of inflammation like diffuse rashes, conjunctivitis and swelling. In severe cases there could be respiratory distress, low blood pressure or even an altered mental status. Dr. Rister said it's important parents know to make this a part of the conversation if their child is experiencing an unexplained fever and inflammation.

"It is something to be aware of, but not necessarily something to be alarmed about," said Dr. Glenn Hardesty, an emergency physician with Texas Health Plano. He told CBS 11 News that in light of this new development, with Texas reopening, parents really should be mindful. He said we should all continue practicing social distancing and wearing masks in public settings. He also suggested parents ask daycare centers about their policies.

"If parents are really concerned, or there's children that are at higher risk of catching disease because of underlying illness, then certainly daycare may not be the best idea," said Dr. Hardesty. "Also summer camps may be a concern for those kiddos as well."

Dr, Hardesty pointed out that this inflammatory syndrome is not contagious. It's an overreaction of the body's immune system either during COVID-19 or after the patient has gotten better.

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