Experts say pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome is rare

PORTLAND, Ore.—Oregon Health Authority has learned of the state’s first case of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, a rare but emerging condition in children that is believed to be associated with COVID-19 infection.

The case is a girl who had confirmed COVID-19. She is being treated at Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland.

Little is known about the syndrome, although it’s believed to be rare. Boston Children’s Hospital, citing a recent health alert out of the United Kingdom, noted symptoms that include fever, inflammation, and poor function in one or more organs. It is reportedly similar to Kawasaki disease, which causes fever, rash, swelling of hands and feet, redness of the eyes, swollen lymph glands, inflammation of the mouth, lips and throat.


Treatment for the new condition is supportive. Immune globulin has been effective in treating Kawasaki Disease.

“We don’t believe this syndrome is very common, but several cases have been reported elsewhere in association with COVID-19,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for infectious diseases and immunizations at the OHA Public Health Division. “This syndrome appears to be an uncommon but serious complication of COVID-19 in children.”

OHA is in the process of developing a case definition for pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome and expects the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to release one as well in the coming days. The agency also plans to require health care providers to report cases of the disorder so it can be tracked.

In addition, OHA plans to send a Health Alert Network advisory to Oregon health care providers to be on the lookout for the condition, and is informing the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems and pediatric hospitals around the state about its emergence.

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