February 23, 2022
In the wake of the Omicron variant infecting a record number of US children, CNN reports children’s hospitals across the country braced for the accompanying spike in MIS-C cases that had been seen with other spikes. Typically, MIS-C cases have appeared four to six weeks after infection. Many children’s hospitals have yet to see the expected surge but remain prepared for its appearance.
CDC tracks MIS-C cases and posts the data once per month. As of January 31, there have been 6,851 cases of MIS-C during the pandemic, with 59 deaths. By comparison, the overall count of COVID-19 cases in children projected by AAP is more than 12.3 million children, 4.5 million of which came from the Omicron wave since the beginning of January.
Many hospitals across the country have yet to see a sizeable increase in the number of MIS-C cases to go with the Omicron wave while others report quicker MIS-C waves from the variant.
Why do some kids develop MIS-C while others do not? That question has led to several studies underway to help search for an answer to it as well as to understand long-term consequences and treatment options. One trend that has appeared with Omicron has been fewer MIS-C cases compared to more recent case waves.
Some researchers have theorized this result is due to vaccine eligibility for children over 5 years-old and the progression of shots in arms. Most children with MIS-C do begin recovering in the first week after hospital discharge. Still, the best approach with MIS-C is for children not to catch Covid-19 in the first place.
PIDS board member, Roberta DeBiasi is featured in the story and said, “The older kids are much less represented among the MIS-C cases now, and that makes sense because they’re vaccinated, and there are plenty of studies now showing that vaccination reduces the risk of MIS-C cases just like it reduces the risk of hospitalization and severe disease.” Also quoted in the story are members Marian Michael and Ami Patel.