S. Korea reports suspected pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome cases

Lim Chang-won Reporter() | Posted : May 26, 2020, 16:25 | Updated : May 26, 2020, 17:28

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- South Korea reported two suspected cases of the pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, a day after health authorities launched a monitoring and investigation system for the rare disease linked to a novel coronavirus.

The two tested negative for COVID-19 in the real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method that amplifies specific DNA samples, Kwak Jin, an official from South Korea's epidemic control center, said on Tuesday. Cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) have been reported in the U.S. and Europe.

One patient is a teenager. The other one under the age of ten did not show symptoms defined by health officials, but an investigation is underway because the PCR test talks about the current infection or patient condition, Kwak said.

Suspected MIS-C cases were detected in South Korean when health officials and teachers are on vigilance to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak at schools. Millions of students started going back to campuses gradually from May 13 after South Korea eased social distancing guidelines to permit greater social and economic activities than before. From May 27, classes open for those in lower grades of elementary schools and kindergartens.

South Korea has achieved a certain degree of success in its battle to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, health officials are still concerned about asymptomatic infection among young people.

In MIS-C cases, the inflammatory response shares common features with other pediatric inflammatory conditions, including Kawasaki disease. Symptoms include a high fever, a rash, very red eyes, abdominal pain and skin peeling on hands or feet.

Some children who experience the inflammatory disease are testing positive for the novel coronavirus, while others are testing negative for the virus but positive for coronavirus antibodies, suggesting a possible post-infectious inflammatory response even weeks after exposure to the virus or being sick.

Normally, children experience mild to moderate symptoms or show no symptoms at all. Children with an underlying health condition or an immunodeficiency are generally at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19. But so far, there is little information about how or why the virus may trigger MIS-C in a small number of children who are seemingly healthy. The gravest risk is heart failure.
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