NEWBURGH, Ind. (WFIE) - Doctors at Ascension St. Vincent have observed an increase in the number of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C, cases.
Dr. Wendy Woodward, the medical director of the pediatric hospitalist program at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, said that it’s becoming more common than they initially thought.
“I would have agreed a couple months ago that this was pretty rare,” she said. “But the reason I wanted to talk about this was because we’re seeing an increased number of this in kids in our community, and I know they’re seeing it across town too.”
Experts say the condition is caused by an immune system overreaction to COVID-19.
Symptoms include fever, sore throat, nausea, rashes and many others that can be found in a comprehensive list on the CDC’s website.
Woodward stressed that it’s important to note that it often appears in asymptomatic children.
When the symptoms appear, COVID tests may come back negative because the initial infection has passed.
She said that makes the condition elusive, and people need to pay close attention, as antibody tests are often what confirms a diagnosis.
Though the syndrome is thought to be more common in kids, adults have also been affected.
38-year-old Matt Sturgeon of Newburgh was diagnosed with MIS-A, the adult version of the condition, after suffering a high fever and rash for days on end.
His wife Crystal said doctors initially thought he had food poisoning, but after reading about MIS, she pressed further to get the proper diagnosis.
She said it was a difficult time.
“It was scary,” Crystal said. “Looking back, I didn’t want to say it at the time, but there were times it felt like he was dying in front of me.”
As Matt recovers, he said he needs to be cautious about how much he exerts himself.
MIS-A is known to cause swelling of the heart, and it could potentially cause a coronary aneurysm.
Sturgeon said that he was surprised to have been hit so hard by COVID. Now, he urges people to do what they can to prevent spreading it.
“It doesn’t care who you are,” he said. “I’m one of those people, I’m speaking to myself in the mirror now. It could be anyone - it doesn’t matter how healthy you are.”
Studies show that in children, MIS-C has a mortality rate of 2%.