Post-Covid infection in children rising in Kerala, 4 dead in last 5 months
4 children have died and over 300 were infected by Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome-in Children (MIS-C), a post-Covid complication, in Kerala in the last five months, as per the state health ministry. MIS-C has emerged as a new concern for a state where a high number of Covid infections has persisted for more than two months.
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday asked parents to avail immediate medical help if MIS-C symptoms are seen in children. “It is a treatable disease, but if ignored, it will lead to complications,” he said.
Experts said MIS-C was a post-Covid disease among children with symptoms of fever, stomach pain, red eye and nausea surfacing three-four weeks following their recovery from the coronavirus.
According to the state health ministry data, 10 % of all state population infected by Covid-19 so far, comprises children under 18 years of age while most of the MIS-C infected cases are amongst children under 15. The first MIS-C case was reported in government-owned SAT hospital in Thiruvananthapuram in March this year; but public health experts such as Dr Padmanabha Shenoy said scattered cases were also reported last year but its visibility increased in the last couple of months.
“It is a rare complication affecting children. In some cases, after recovery of parents from Covid, they [children] got infected but failed to show symptoms. In many cases, symptoms surface at a later stage, and usually patients will be [found to be] PCR-negative. If not treated properly, it will lead to serious complications,” said Dr Shenoy.
Intravenous immunoglobulin and steroids were being used for its treatment and the state health ministry has prepared a treatment protocol for hospitals to follow.
29 MIS-C cases were reported in neighbouring Karnataka and 14 in Tamil Nadu in the last six months, experts said, adding that while most of the infected were male children, they were yet to find out the reason for this.
With increased awareness, multi-disciplinary support and improved understanding and early diagnosis, it can be treated well, said internal medicine expert Dr N M Arun. “Timely diagnosis and medical aid is important in such cases,” he said, asking parents to watch their children for at least two-three months after they recover from Covid.
Meanwhile, Kerala continues to be the pandemic capital of the country with around 70% of total Covid cases. On Saturday, it reported 31,265 cases with a test positivity rate (TPR) of 18.67 after testing 167,497 samples. The active caseload also crossed the two hundred thousand mark to reach 204,086 after three months. 153 Covid-related deaths were also registered on Saturday. In the last 24 hours, the country reported 45,083 cases with a TPR of 3%.