Severe illness and multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in COVID-19 children

Severe illness and multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in COVID-19 children

Last Reviewed : 12/28/2020
Severe illness and multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS-C) in COVID-19 children

  • Based on available evidence, Children do not appear to be at higher risk for COVID-19 than adults.
  • Children with confirmed COVID-19 have generally shown mild symptoms.
  • Reported symptoms in children include cold-like symptoms, such as fever, runny nose, and cough. Vomiting and diarrhea have also been reported. However some children and infants have been sick with COVID-19. 

Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C)

It’s not known yet whether some children may be at higher risk for severe illness, for example, children with special healthcare needs. There is more to learn about how the disease affects children. You can learn more about who is most at risk for health problems if they get COVID-19 on Are You at Higher Risk for Severe Illness.

If you are concerned your child may have COVID-19, stay at home and contact your healthcare provider. Pediatricians are open during the COVID-19 pandemic and can follow CDC recommendations to keep children and their parents or caregivers safe when in-person visits are needed.

CDC and partners are investigating cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19. MIS-C has been described as inflammation (swelling) across multiple body systems, potentially including the

  • Heart, lungs, and kidneys
  • Brain
  • Skin
  • Eyes
  • Gastrointestinal organs

Signs and symptoms of MIS-C include fever and various symptoms such as

  • Abdominal and neck pain
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Feeling tired

Not all children will have the same symptoms.

If your child has any of these symptoms or other concerning signs, contact your pediatrician. If your child is showing any emergency warning signs including trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, bluish lips or face, severe abdominal pain, or other concerning signs, seek emergency care right away.

CDC is working with state and local health departments to learn more about this syndrome, including how common it is and who is at risk. As new data become available, we will continue to provide information for parents and caregivers as well as healthcare and public health professionals. Current information and guidance on MIS-C for clinicians can be found at Information for Pediatric Healthcare Providers.


Source: Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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