Arizona doctors issue warning about MIS-C; a rare condition possibly caused by COVID-19 – AZFamily

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — The Centers for Disease Control, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and two Arizona moms want to bring attention to a new condition that’s likely linked to COVID-19. Health experts say Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Symptoms vary child to child, but according to the CDC, it’s defined as: “a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. We do not yet know what causes MIS-C. However, many children with MIS-C had the virus that causes COVID-19 or had been around someone with COVID-19.” 

Dr. Wassim M. Ballan, MD, is a pediatric infectious disease doctor at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. He said he has seen an increase in patients being admitted to the hospital with MIS-C but cannot report a specific number citing privacy concerns. He said MIS-C symptoms typically show weeks after a child has had and recovered from COVID-19.

“The good news is that we do have medications that manage the inflammation, and the vast majority of those patients are leaving the hospital doing well,” explained Dr. Ballan. “We still don’t know the long term complications because this is obviously a new disease.”

Three-year-old Nyla Rodriguez was one of the PCH patients diagnosed with MIS-C back in August 2020 but recovered after spending several days in the ICU. Her mother, Lony Grandales, said her daughter’s face became puffy, eyes looked swollen shut.

“Her breathing was off. She was not sleeping. She would not drink her sippy cup. She was just not herself. She was starting to look very different,” explained Grandales.

The Phoenix mom wants the community to take COVID seriously. Nyla had tested positive for COVID and recovered from it about eight weeks before getting admitted to PCH for MIS-C.

“I could’ve lost my daughter because of this. You could lose your child,” she said.

Carrie English of Payson’s 12-year-old daughter Elizabeth died of MIS-C in December, a few weeks shy of her 13th birthday.

Elizabeth, the youngest of six kids, had tested negative for COVID, but her mother said it wasn’t until later doctors learned she developed antibodies for the virus. She had a bright future ahead of her and was involved in cheer, gymnastics, and student government. It’s her mom’s mission to warn other parents that a fever or rash could turn into something much worse and encourages other parents to bring MIS-C up to their child’s pediatrician and be aware of MIS-C.

English drove Elizabeth from Payson to PCH, who was admitted to the ICU after realizing she couldn’t control her daughter’s fever.

“I do not want any other child’s life to be lost due to someone just not knowing the facts,” said English. She encourages parents to ask their child’s doctor about MIS-C.

The CDC recommends taking your child to the emergency room right away if they show any of these symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face
  • Severe abdominal pain


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