Texas doctors waiting on guidance about a mysterious coronavirus-related disease affecting children


AUSTIN (KXAN) – Doctors in Central Texas are waiting on a national alert from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome or PIMS. 

The syndrome in kids and teens is being linked to COVID-19. According to NBC Nightly News, three children have died from the syndrome and cases are suspected in 17 states, including Louisiana. 

The Department of State Health Services said it’s not aware of any cases in Texas children.​

“DSHS is actively looking into pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome and is communicating regularly with pediatricians and hospitals throughout the state,” said Communications Specialist Lyndsey Rosales. “DSHS encourages doctors to report unusual expressions of disease to their local or regional health department.”

An Austin area mom tells KXAN investigator Arezow Doost that she worried her 1-year-old had the syndrome. 

“This sounds so familiar!” said the mom “And for 8 weeks starting from February doctors could not tell what was wrong.” 

Doctors say children have been relatively spared from the COVID-19 pandemic. In Texas according to DSHS data, there are 626 confirmed cases among kids 19 years-old and younger. The data shows that there have been two deaths. 

“At this time as more data are emerging, CDC is working with the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists and other domestic and international partners to better understand and characterize this new syndrome, its prevalence and risk factors for it; and to develop a case definition that will allow us to keep track of it,” explained a CDC spokesperson to Doost. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics said it’s watching this very carefully and scientists around the world are working hard to understand this syndrome and how best to treat it.​

“Until then, we want to reassure parents that most children are not affected by the coronavirus, and reports of children who become seriously ill remain rare and unusual cases,” said AAP online

AAP says if you notice these symptoms, call your pediatrician: 

  • A fever that won’t go away
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Rash or changes in skin color
  • Trouble breathing
  • Your child seems confused or overly sleepy

“The symptoms have many of the characteristics of Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory condition experts at Texas Children’s Hospital have treated for decades,” explained Dr. Daniel Penny Chief of Pediatric Cardiology at Texas Children’s Hospital. “Our cardiologists and experts in inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatologists and immunologists, see about 100 children with Kawasaki disease each year.”

Dr. Penny said that Texas Children’s expertise in these areas will serve the hospital well if it’s required to run toward this new COVID-associated problem.

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