State officials report first case of new COVID-19-related illness affecting children


State officials today announced the first case of a new illness in an Indiana child, an illness health officials believe could be associated with the new coronavirus.

United Kingdom officials first reported multisystem inflammatory syndrome, an illness that predominantly affects those younger than 21, in late April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since, many countries, including the United States, have reported instances of the illness. In early May, New York health officials began receiving reports of the illness, according to the CDC.

New York City has reported more than 100 cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome, according to the CDC. The United Kingdom has reported at least one child that has died from the illness.

Those who have contracted MIS-C present with a fever, inflammation and multisystem organ involvement. Most have also contracted the new coronavirus or tested positive for antibodies of the virus, signaling they previously were exposed to the virus.

Currently, the CDC says there is not enough information to determine if the illness, denoted as MIS-C, only affects children or if adults can also contract it.

According to the CDC, there is “limited information currently available about risk factors, pathogenesis, clinical course, and treatment for MIS-C.”

State officials did not elaborate on where the child lives in Indiana. Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said most infected children would be treated at pediatric hospitals in central Indiana.

“We’ve asked hospitals to report suspected cases to us, as we can investigate and learn more about COVID-19 and how that may be impacting our younger people,” Box said. “We have to remember that there are a large number of children out there that have probably been infected that did not get seriously ill, that this is a smaller percentage. Just like our test being positive for individuals in the hospital, we will probably tend to know more about those children that do get seriously ill.”

Box said she and other state officials would work with the state’s department of education in coming days to determine when to open schools and how to ensure the health of students.