New research at Skåne University Hospital to shed light on MIS-C

Helena Elding Larsson and Robin Kahn. Photos: Kennt Ruona/Lund University
Children rarely get seriously ill in COVID-19. However, they can suffer from troublesome secondary diseases, the most serious being MIS-C, a hyper-inflammatory condition that often requires intensive care. In Skåne, around 30 children have been affected by MIS-C. Skåne University Hospital is leading the work to care for the affected children and research is also underway on the disease.

MIS-C is a rare secondary disease, and there are no explanations for why some children are affected. Those who have fallen ill have been of different ages, both boys and girls. Robin Kahn, senior physician at Skåne University Hospital and researcher at Lund University, is responsible for a national study on MIS-C.

"About 200 children in the country have been affected and we are following up on how the children are feeling after recovering from MIS-C. I will also start my own research into why some children are affected. As it stands, teenagers between the age of 13 and 17 seem to suffer the most. I want to find out why," Says Robin Kahn.

Serious condition

Children usually do not get seriously ill from COVID-19 and recover quickly. However, 2-6 weeks afterwards, they may suffer from MIS-C. Children who are admitted to hospital with MIS-C are seriously ill with a high fever, sometimes rashes on the body and respiratory problems.
"They feel really unwell and often need intensive care during their hospital stay," says Helena Elding Larsson, Director of Pediatrics at Skåne University Hospital and Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics at Lund University.

MIS-C is a serious condition, but the prognosis is good if the child arrives to hospital in time and is treated with powerful anti-inflammatory drugs. Often the children also need intensive or intermediate care.
"Children with this condition have ended up in one of our emergency hospitals in Skåne, but most have either been cared for or followed up by us at Skåne University Hospital," continues Helena Elding Larsson.

Got seriously ill

One of the children who became ill with MIS-C is 17-year-old Dennis Zawilo.
"I had a mild COVID in mid-December. After a few days I had fully recovered and thought it wasn't that bad. And since I'm young and have a good immune system, I thought it was all over. But then I became really unwell again at the end of January and had to go to the hospital urgently.
It soon became clear that he suffered from MIS-C, and he ended up in an intensive care unit at Skåne University Hospital.
"I wouldn't say I was scared, but it was creepy and very horrible. I had a high fever, severe headaches, difficulty breathing, large rashes all over my body and do not remember much of the time in the hospital," says Dennis Zawilo, who has now fully recovered.

More people may be affected

As the spread of infection among children and young people has picked up in society, there are concerns that more children will be affected by MIS-C.
"There were many children with MIS-C at Christmas when the spread of infection was high. Now that the spread of infection is increasing again, I fear that we will have more cases," says Helena Elding Larsson.
Helena Elding Larsson stresses that the disease is rare and that parents should not shy away from sending the children to school or preschool for fear that they will get MIS-C.

Facts: MIS-C

  • MIS-C is an acronym for Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children.
  • The disease is rare and can affect children of all ages. Most often, the children fall ill within 2-6 weeks of a COVID infection.
  • The condition involves a severe inflammation of the body, the child has a high fever and one or more organs in the body are affected.
    There are no specific risk groups for MIS-C, most of those affected have been healthy children.
  • After COVID-19, children may also suffer from post-COVID or PASC (Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-COV-2 infection(PASC). The condition can be described as a long-term infection with diffuse symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache or sleep disorders. But there are no statistics on how many children have been affected.