(CNN) - Children who may have developed the new coronavirus-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome will likely have to be hospitalized, but their parents should still bring them for treatment, doctors say.
The symptoms of MIS-C, which is believed to be a complication of COVID-19 that happens in children, do not look like the classic symptoms. Those affected may experience stomach pain, vomiting, fever and possibly a rash, according to experts at a meeting organized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Any child at home who has fever, abdominal pain or symptoms such as rash and conjunctivitis should be seen by a pediatrician right away,” said Dr. James Schneider, who heads pediatric critical care at Northwell Health in New York. “I think we need to have a low threshold for evaluation.”
Many children with MIS-C have damage to their hearts, possibly as a result of a delayed immune response to COVID-19, and need immediate treatment. Most were previously healthy and had no underlying conditions.
Tests for inflammation and heart damage can show if children are at risk and need to be hospitalized. Quick treatment appears to work, and most patients go home after a few days in the hospital.
MIS-C appears to develop two to six weeks after infection with COVID-19; though many with it tested negative for the virus at first and never seemed to have symptoms.
The CDC issued a health alert last week warning pediatricians to be on the lookout for MIS-C, and at least 20 states plus Washington, D.C., have reported they are investigating possible cases. It is not known if the syndrome can also occur in adults.