OU Children’s sees uptick in coronavirus-related illness

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Doctors at OU Children’s Hospital have recently seen an uptick in cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C, which is a COVID-related illness among children that causes serious inflammation and can be fatal. 

“She’s traumatized. She’s scared. She doesn’t even want to be at school because she’s scared to get it again,” Veronica McNeal, from Bridge Creek, told News 4. 

That’s because McNeal’s 10-year-old niece, Azaila Garcia, recently battled a COVID-related illness called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or MIS-C. 

The illness causes serious inflammation in the lungs, kidneys and heart. 

It’s rare, but it can be fatal. 

“She had a high fever. That was on a Friday. Saturday, she was worse,” McNeal said. “Sunday, they took her back and the doctor said well, here’s a steroid. We don’t know why it’s taking so long for the antibiotics to kick in.” 

McNeal said the next day, most of Azaila’s body was swollen. 

“She was in the ICU for 12 days and the last two, she was in a regular room,” McNeal said. 

Azaila was diagnosed with COVID-19 two weeks prior, but had no symptoms. 

“We have had some cases where families present it to the ER, but did not even know that their child had previously been infected with COVID-19,” Dr. Donna Tyungu, Pediatrics Infectious Diseases at OU Children’s, said. 

Dr. Tyungu told News 4 OU Children’s saw their first case back in April and recently, they’ve seen an uptick in cases. 

They’re currently averaging about 1-2 cases per week and have seen at least 30 cases so far. 

“If they feel like their child may have MIS-C, I would suggest that they don’t stay home for too long, because the cardiac manifestation of this happen pretty quickly,” she said. “So, we do want these children evaluated early.”

Both Dr. Tyungu and McNeal have this warning for parents. 

“Watch your kids, if they’re saying they have a fever, anything, shortness of breathe,” McNeal said. “Had she not took her in, I mean the inflammation would have killed her.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association, more than 210,000 new pediatric cases were reported in the U.S. last week. That is the highest weekly increase since the pandemic began. 

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