In the first weeks of the pandemic, in the midst of a thousand doubts, there seemed to be a certainty: the coronavirus does not affect children. Too bad that time, in addition to having categorically denied this theory, has also led to discovery of a new disease closely linked to the nightmare that has turned our lives upside down for 21 months: the long Covid in pediatric age is called Mis-C. An acronym behind which the Child’s systemic multi-inflammatory syndrome, noticed for the first time between April and May 2020 both in the United Kingdom and in Bergamo, the symbolic city of the first wave. It was actually initially mistaken for the already known Kawasaki syndrome (rare pediatric vascular disease), but the too high number of cases – and the symptoms not exactly mirroring – had caused more than a bell in the scientific world. Rightly so, given that extensive research led to the discovery of Mis-C, which in Veneto is carefully studied by Universities of Padua and Verona, which monitor the centers of the regional network of Pediatric Rheumatology.
The control room
The hospital of the city of the Saint acts as the control room, with the director ofoperational unit Francesco Zulian who now knows the medical records by heart of the 46 young patients hospitalized over the months across the region, of which thirty in the Paduan polyclinic (eight of which in intensive care out of the total 11 in the Veneto region). The characteristics of the syndrome – of which there are no cases among adults – are as specific as they are worrying: indiscriminately affects children and young people from three months to 21 years who had contracted Covid in a mild form and occurs on average between four and six weeks after exposure to the virus, with initial symptoms ranging from fever to skin rashes passing through gastro-intestinal problems only to then inflame various organs. Especially the heart.
80% of the children hospitalized in our region – explains Professor Zulian – has major cardiovascular problems such as myocarditis, arrhythmias, valve dysfunctions and coronary aneurysms: even after discharge we continue to carefully follow these little patients to assess the severity of the residual effects, which can continue for a long time. Zulian therefore analyzes other aspects of the syndrome: We have noticed that the peak of Mis-C follows those of the various waves of the pandemic by about two months, which makes us understand how Covid behaves like a match, subsequently igniting the multi-inflammation that then affects the whole body. The most affected are males (29 in Veneto compared to 17 females, ed), more than two thirds of them are Caucasian but ten are African, which, like the Hispanic one, seems to have a greater predisposition to the development of the disease. The average hospital stay for those who end up in intensive care is also seven days.
Finally, Professor Zulian draws his own personal conclusions on the child’s systemic multi-inflammatory syndrome, immediately admitting: It is a disease that is still little known, starting from the actual triggering causes. Certainly at a general level it is an important and rather serious syndrome, given that in addition to affecting several organs at the same time and manifesting itself with relevant skin rashes in some cases it also involves neurological involvement. Fortunately, however, very rare, since so far in Veneto it has affected one child in a thousand among those who had been affected by the coronavirus and which only in a quarter of cases requires hospitalization in a critical area. There are drugs to counter Mis-C, but we are working to find an even more efficient therapy.
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November 13, 2021 (change November 13, 2021 | 08:05)
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