Georgia has seen nine cases of a new syndrome affecting children, which appears to be linked to COVID-19.
The syndrome is similar to Kawasaki Disease, an inflammatory syndrome that affects multiple organ systems.
Cases of the syndrome have been reported in several states, including in New York, where three children died, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The AJC reports the state of Georgia is investigating at least 15 cases of the illness.
Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Health, announced the cases during the question and answer session at Thursday’s press briefing.
The syndrome is being called Multi-system Inflammatory Syndrome in Children or MIS-C by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the CDC, children with MIS-C have presented with a persistent fever and a variety of symptoms. Symptoms can involve problems with multiple organ systems, including heart, gastrointestinal, renal, skin, hematologic and neurologic, and elevated inflammatory markers.
Symptoms can include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes and feeling extra tired.
Not all children have the same symptoms, and some may have other symptoms, according to the CDC. The syndrome can begin weeks after a child is infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. According to the CDC’s MIS-C page, “the child may have been asymptomatically infected, and in some cases, the child and their caregivers may not even know they had been infected.”
The CDC updated its guidelines for pediatricians on May 15 to include information about the syndrome.
The CDC recommends parents seek emergency care right away if children have trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that doesn’t go away, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, or severe abdominal pain.
The condition was first recognized April 26 in the United Kingdom, according to the CDC.