A mysterious child illness called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) has been reported across the Western Cape. According to the provincial Health Department, there have been 35 confirmed cases since June.

MIS-C in children is a condition that causes inflammation in different parts of the body like the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

When it first began emerging in late April/early May, MISC-C or IMS-TS was initially compared to Kawasaki-disease and toxic-shock syndrome. However, studies have revealed it is a new, distinct illness of its own.

In May, the CDC officially announced that MIS-C and COVID-19 are linked.

While accurate numbers for private centres and other state hospitals are not readily available, Chris Scott, an associate professor at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and Paediatric Rheumatology’s head of division confirms that Tygerberg Hospital is facing roughly 35 cases. The cases range in severity.

The CDC warns that MISC-C can be serious and even deadly in children, but most who are diagnosed will recover with medical care. Symptoms to look out for in your child include:

– persistent fever

– irritability or sluggishness

– severe abdominal pain

– diarrhoea

– vomiting

– rash

– red or pink eyes

– enlarged lymph node gland on one side of the neck

– red cracked lips or red tongue

– swollen hands and feet

The University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences have joined forces with other paediatric specialists to gather and analyse data to help understand the illness better.

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