Janiya Johnson, 5, of Portage, Indiana was diagnosed a couple of months ago with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.
MIS-C is a rare condition diagnosed that typically occurs four to six weeks after a child is exposed to COVID-19. Janiya is feeling better now, but her parents say she was lucky that she was diagnosed when she was.
“The doctor told us maybe if we had waited one more day, she possibly, they possibly couldn’t have done anything for her. So that’s a scary moment,” said Oshunda Johnson, her mother.
Janiya’s family never even knew she had COVID. She later tested positive for antibodies. Her symptoms included vomiting, fever, stomach and neck pain, and her kidneys and liver began failing.
“She’s full of energy. She’s just ready to go,” said her father, Johnathan Johnson. “And it was just different when she wanted to lay down and go to sleep.”
Eventually she was diagnosed at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, where she ended up in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit.
“Many of these kids require intensive care management in one of our pediatric ICUs,” said Dr. Frank Belmonte, chief medical officer at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “They need IV fluids. Many of them will require steroids or other anti-inflammatories to bring down the inflammation.”
With anti-inflammatories and other drugs, Janiya made a full recovery. Her family and their doctors are now warning others about this condition that impacts minorities disproportionately.
“We know that about a third of the kids that get it are of Latinx origin, and about a third are of African-American descent, so we do want those communities to be very aware of it,” Dr. Belmonte said.
About 2,000 children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with MIS-C. Much is still unknown about MIS-C, including why Janiya and other children have fallen ill, and others have not.
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