PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Though it's rare, some children are having severe reactions after COVID-19 exposure. It's called "pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome," known as MIS-C.

Doctors in Phoenix said not only is MIS-C already here in Arizona, but they're expecting the cases to rise. It can become very serious very quickly if not caught early, and sometimes that can be the hardest part.

kid in hospital

Generic photo of a child in the hospital.

“Some kids are getting very sick from it. Some kids are dying from it, and unfortunately, you can’t predict which kid that’s going to be,” said Dr. Salil Pradhan, a pediatric doctor at a Valleywise hospital.

Just like COVID-19, pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome in kids can be different from child to child, ranging from a rash and fever, vomiting and diarrhea, to sepsis and respiratory problems. Maricopa County confirmed Tuesday there have been seven reports of MIS-C.

They said three tested negative and four cases are under investigation and currently pending.

Banner confirmed cases in Phoenix and Tucson, and Phoenix Children's Hospital said they've had cases, too. Doctors said there could be more.

“Earlier in the year, before we were testing for COVID regularly, we did have an increase of instances of Kawasaki disease, which is similar to the multisystem inflammatory system. So we think we might have had some cases earlier in the year,” said Dr. Pradhan about Valleywise.

Dr. Pradhan said MIS-C in kids stems from exposure to COVID, but with a different time table.

“What makes this a little bit different is that it appears to be coming three to four weeks after a COVID infection, and unless people knew they had that, it’s hard to catch,” he said.

University of Arizona doctor Shad Marvasti said it’s rare for kids to spread MIS-C to other kids, but adults can pass it to children, leading to concern for the school year.

“What I would be worried about is maintain proper distance with any adults and your children, and obviously in school settings the teachers and other adult staff in terms of their interactions,” said Dr. Marvasti. “There’s more chance unfortunately of seeing more and more cases of MIS-C moving forward in the next couple of months.”

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Arizona’s Family reached out to the state health department to ask about the overall number of MIS-C cases in Arizona right now, but they didn't get back to us.


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