Doctors warn of mysterious health condition linked to COVID-19 affecting children

Health officials are warning the public after children on the east coast have died due to a mysterious health condition linked to COVID-19. Though it's rare, doctors want families to be aware.

Dr. Madeleine Gagnon, associate medical director of pediatrics at Gillette Children's Specialty Care, says the condition is on the radar of pediatricians here in Minnesota.

"One of the abnormal immune responses we are seeing in children is a hyper inflammation process or an exaggerated immune process," she said. "Knowledge sharing is really important--how do we transcend what we are seeing on the front lines clinically into research and then widespread information sharing?"

Doctors are referring to the condition that has hospitalized dozens of children as "pediatric multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome," and health officials believe it's connected to coronavirus. So far, three children in New York have died because of it.

"It can have a varied response--it may have a fever, a rash, red eyes, abdominal pain, diarrhea - or it may elicit a more serious reaction like myocarditis or an inflammation of the heart process."

Dr. Gagnon says this pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome doesn't show the hallmarks of COVID-19 in children who have been diagnosed. Rather, it presents similar to Kawasaki Disease or Toxic Shock Syndrome where the person goes into septic shock.

While it’s rare, Dr. Gagnon wants parents to be educated.

She said residents should be “self-advocates, monitoring one's health, but still being able to enjoy one's life and when recognizing that your body or your child's body seems different something, seems abnormal, to get proper medical care because early intervention and good supportive care undoubtedly will help improve outcomes."